Top Five “Giver’s Gain” Networking Tips
Having networked for over ten years, I’ve learned a few things that you might want to take advantage of in your business. The expression “giver’s gain” in networking is usually in reference to giving business referrals to get them, but I’ve found that there is a much wider meaning to this phrase. Here are my top five Giver’s Gain Networking Tips.
#1 Ask Questions and Really Listen
Whether speed networking or meeting someone for a 1:1 networking coffee, ask genuinely caring questions about their business and, most importantly, listen closely to their answers. The first thing that happens is that you’ll learn more about their business and how you might be able to help them in some way. Is there a product, service, challenge, or contact with someone else that you can help them with? The second thing that happens is that you’ll be remembered in a positive light as a good and caring person that they want to interact with again.
#2 Do Good Deeds
Be on the lookout for opportunities to help someone. Whether it’s online or in person, be ready to act. It could be that someone needs to be reassured, encouraged or physically helped with something. Or you might notice someone tweeting their difficulty or asking for a recommendation. Two examples of this that we have come across are as follows: one such person tweeted that they were stuck on the side of the road with a puncture and no jack and were helped by a nearby twitter user that noticed the tweet and responded, another person (and this is more common) tweeted about their disappointment in a product order that fell through only to have a similar product provider jump in to help by offering a free replacement. Doing a good deed for someone leaves them in your debt, and as a result when they need what you provide (or hear of someone who needs you), they are more likely to think of you than your competitor.
#3 Be Open to Partnership
You are bound to bump into your competitors at some stage while networking. Try to find areas of your business that you can help each other with; they are bound to be strong in an area you are weak and vice versa. Is there a possibility of a referral partnership? For example: at Spiralli we are experts in WordPress but not in Joomla so we look out for other web developers who specialise in this area so that we can refer business to them. In return, when they find someone who needs WordPress help, they send them to us. Other industries that share your target market may also be good referral partners.
Follow up after EVERY networking session with genuine care and positivity. Call your new contacts up and have a brief chat, thank them for their time, and remind them that you are there if they need you. Offer up your expertise: “Give me a call if you ever need a quick bit of advice about X, I’d be delighted to help you out.” You want to leave them in a better mood than you found them if possible so get your smile on before you lift the phone!
#5 Reach Out
Keep note of the people who don’t need you now but who you suspect will need you in the future and put them on a list for calling later. When calling them, remind them where they met you and make sure you ask specifically about their challenge and how it’s going. Keep the conversation friendly and caring, and not a hard sell. This is an exercise in reminding them that you care, not in forcing what you provide down their throats. The days of the hard sell are numbered.