Tuesday, March 14, 2006

9 ways to network Easily

My flight from Vegas on Sunday was 2 1/2 hours late. I had a bad attitude about it which is unusual (I normally consider delays to be "found" time). The LV ariport has few redeeming characteristics - no lounge and no fresh food.

Last night I spoke to a group of Wilfred Laurier Business students. I alway find the inquisitiveness and energy to youth to be invigorating.

2 of the students asked me about networking. The following is an article I wrote that applies:

9 ways to Network Easily

By Jim Estill CEO SYNNEX Canada

One of the easiest ways to increase sales is through networking and one of the best ways to network is to network easily. What I mean by this is to do things that come naturally to you.

Some of the ideas that can be helpful for networking are:

1. Join groups that you would be interested in joining. For example, if you like to run, join a running group; if you like to play bridge, join a bridge group; if you would like to go to church, become a member of a congregation. Joining a group just for the sake of networking, generally doesn’t work.

2. Volunteer to speak at events. You can start by speaking to small groups and then in time you can become more selective and speak to larger groups. Toastmasters is an excellent group to join to improve your speaking ability as well as another networking opportunity.

3. Write articles. There is something that makes someone seem like an expert when they write an article on a specific topic. Articles are easy to write if you are passionate about what you are writing about. There are also hundreds of publications that are hungry for material. Again, you will have to start small with local publications and work up to other publications.

4. Keep a Rolodex (I use Outlook) and keep it organized. Ideally include not only names and address but also a few points of interest about the person or their business.

5. Keep in touch with people. The best way to do this is to know what interests the people have and then send them personalized emails or notes with articles of interest attached. Do this with no intention of them buying but the more they know you, the more they will tend to buy.

6. Become an expert: Becoming an expert in any field is simple to do. First pick a topic that you are passionate about and then spend an hour a day reading trade journals; going to trade shows; and learning about that topic. Within six to eight weeks, you will be close to an expert in that field and people will turn to you for solutions.

7. Be generous: People tend to link happy occasions with gifts. Be prolific with gifts; for example, baby gifts – you will find that people are very grateful that you remembered their special occasion.

8. Follow-through: If you are trying to sell a product to a customer, make sure that you follow up with them so you can make the sale. Many times people will provide the information on the product and will tell the customer that they will get back to them, but don’t, so the sale falls through.

9. If you are going to be out there, work the room: What I mean by this is why go to a function and sit only with the people that you already know. No need to sit in the corner when you can mingle with new people and get to know them. This skill does not come naturally to introverted people; however, it is something that can be easily learned by stepping out of your comfort zone.

People tend to buy from people they know. Become more known and sell more. This is one way smaller companies and beat larger companies any day.



9 Comments:

At 8:01 PM, Blogger Daman said...

Dear Mr. Estill,

Found your presentation at Laurier full of energy and vigour. Can you write something about 'failing fast'. Also, you talked about skills like speed reading, negotiations. So, can you suggest some books, articles on these topics.
Thanks.

Daman

 
At 11:52 PM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

Thanks for the nice comment. Good ideas to blog on.

 
At 12:08 PM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

Some of my readers email me rather than post a comment. One of my more loyal reader (my mom) said my networking post sounds like using people.

My response to that is I almost always approach relationships as "what Can I give or offer" rather than what can I get. The what I get is a byproduct.

 
At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Laura said...

I can see where Grandma thinks that it is using people to network, but maybe it's just the terminology that you used that she didn't like. Instead, if you phrased it as "be the nicest person you can be and people will like you", it might make it more palatable for us non-corporate types.
Laura

 
At 4:53 PM, Anonymous Thusenth said...

Hey Jim,

Im currently working on a new venture, and after listening to your presentation, I'm much more inspired.

I've read a few articles, and 'rules' for startups, and you seemed to cover all the key points in one 45min sitting.

I follow the 'Golden Triangle' and the large business deals that take place within it somewhat closely, and had no idea tha Synnex picked EMJ up. I guess I was too busy watching the Tim Hortons distro center being built in Guelph (my hometown is Guelph).

Once again, thank you for such an inspring presentation, and for delivering my iPod.

I wrote a quick post on my blog about what I picked up from your presentation at http://www.thusenth.ca/.

 
At 5:42 PM, Blogger David Klein said...

Jim - I REALLY like this post. Great advice to go by. If more people thought and acted this way, "networking" wouldn't have such a pejorative feel. Thanks for the insight. - David

 
At 5:43 AM, Anonymous Thomas Hoffmann said...

Great article!
May I ask for your permission to translate it to German an publish - with reference to you - on my blog?

 
At 11:12 AM, Blogger Jim Estill said...

No problem translating and re-posting on your blog.

 
At 7:22 AM, Blogger Thomas Hoffmann said...

Done.
http://horizont-blog.de/?p=863
Thanks!
Thomas

 

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