Have you ever heard "People do business with those they Know, Like and Trust"? Do you know people who like and trust you? Then, why don't you have more business?
I asked myself these same questions and here is what my years of attending hundreds of networking events and spending countless hours upon hours at coffee shops conducting one on one meetings revealed.
People do business with those they Know, Like, Trust AND CONNECT with.
Connecting with someone is the most important element in this equation. Let me explain why.
There are many stages to building business relationships. Relationships are cultivated over time by investing time and effort.
The first stage is getting to KNOW the other person's business. This is where you learn the basics of who they are and the product or service they offer. If you have done any networking you are very familiar with this initial conversation.
The second stage, LIKE, is where you to start to know them personally. Do they have a family? How do they spend their time away from the office? You can tell a lot about a person when you find out what they do during they off time.
The third stage is TRUST. During this stage you will discover both their business and personal ethics. How do they respond to problems? Do they take care of their customers? Listen to how they talk about their clients and family. Are appreciative of the business or does it seem to be more of an inconvenience? Does there seem to be a lot of drama around them?
Now, how many people do you know who pass in all of the above stages? These are people you can say you know them... like them... and trust them. If so, why are you not doing business with them or referring business to them?
I am here to say that the last and most important element is not present.
The fourth stage is CONNECT WITH. This is the most important of all because without it no business will take place. Let me give you an example that made it very clear to me. As I mentioned, I put in my fair share of networking hours meeting people. Many of these offered the same product or service (ie insurance, real estate, etc). If I had an opportunity to refer, for example, a realtor whose business card would I hand out? I know many realtors that I know, like and trust however I gave referred the one I had a CONNECTION with. This connection was made by building not only a business relationship but also a personal relationship.
Once I discovered this stage of building a relationship and spent more time on connecting... really connecting with others, my business increased.
Look at your networking circle and focus more on connecting with each person and you will see that it will change where you spend your time and the rewards will come pouring in.
Linda Ballesteros is a strategic networker who learned the ins and outs of networking after leaving a 30+ year career in banking. To better understand networking, she founded a business women's networking organization which grew to 300+ members the first year. She now has a book "Your Pot of Gold is a Handshake Away" to share the next step to networking... Referral Marketing.