Networking Works Part II – The Message That Makes Networking Work
Networking requires asking for help in a very specific way. Otherwise it doesn’t get you introduce to the right people. You get frustrated and your contact feels unappreciated. Learn the networking message that delivers.
Your words and actions are critical for successful networking - not because you’re trying to trick anyone, but because you need your contact to understand what exactly you want from him or her. Without this understanding you’re liable to get random information and this can hurt you in many ways. Here’s why.
When you ask someone for help, they will want to assist, but their vision may not be yours. They will give you the name of someone they know and feel comfortable sharing with you. They will expect you to follow-up. However, this name may be useless to you because the person is not connected to whom you want to meet, or they’re not in a functional area that ties to where you want to be.
Another downside of being vague is that if you go ahead and follow up with some random contact and get rejected, you’ll quickly get frustrated and discard networking as no better than cold calling.
For example when I ask people if they can help me connect with someone in a company regarding sales training, they always start thinking of the person in charge of training or HR. Now the training department is not where I want to be because these people do not create change or make final decisions. They do what others tell them to do. So I say something very specific to get me where I want to be.
“Do you know the CEO or SVP of Sales?
If their answer is “No,” I’ll ask, “Do you know someone that does - a sales person or someone that reports to the CEO?”
I’m very deliberate about helping my contact establish his frame of reference.
Now, if I didn’t phrase it this way and the person tells me about the training person and I don’t call the training person because I know it will be a waste of time, then my contact is going to get upset. S/he is going to feel that I asked for help and s/he gave it to me, and I ignored it. That’s not good. And if I do call and get frustrated, that’s not good either.
So you have to be specific. It’s OK if they say no. You can then push them to think a little harder or drop it. Either way you’ll be better off and be able to use this person again.
Next, you have to get your contact to physically make the introduction for you. This is crucial because a name without and intro will do you little good. Even if a very high level boss tells you to call his subordinate, it doesn’t have the impact of the other person making the call. You have to get that person to pick up the phone or tell the subordinate in person that you’ll be calling. Better yet, have your contact walk you into the other’s office.
Physical introductions are so important because your contact and the other person takes it seriously. They literally transfer their credibility with the other person to you. Then it’s yours to lose or enhance the minute you open your mouth
Getting your contact to make the call also prevents the corporate blow-you-off routine that goes like this.
“Oh, so and so told you to call me? Sure sure. Let’s see, I’m really busy right now. Just send me some literature.” This code for, “I don’t know how to politely get rid of this person, so you do it for me.”
Note: If your contact won’t make the call for you, it’s a big red flag and you should look for another point of entry.
It just happened to me. I was on the phone and I asked for a referral. My contact said, “No problem. I’ll connect you right now.” To which I said, “I’d rather you hang up, and just tell Bill I’ll be calling. This will get his attention and get me through his admin and voicemail.” My contact did just as I asked.
Networking like this will happen for you, if you deliver the right message. It’s tough the first few times. That’s why you want to start with whom you’re really comfortable – bosses, work associates, main contacts at your target accounts, etc. Once you see how well it works, you’ll be locked to it.
1. Plan where you want to go,
2. Decide what title, role, position or type of person you want to meet.
3. Think of a few people who can help with that target. Then prioritize as to who is the best one to ask for help.
4. Be specific in what you ask for, and
5. Most importantly, have you contact physically introduce you.
And now I invite you to learn more.
Bonus Tip: FREE E-Book “Getting Past Gatekeepers and Handling Blockers”. Just click this C-Level Relationship Selling Link http://www.sammanfer.com/GatekeeperEbook.htm . Sam Manfer makes it easy for any sales person to be effective and feel comfortable connecting with and relationship selling C-Level leaders.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sam Manfer makes it easy for any sales person to feel comfortable connecting with top, C-Level leaders. For more inspiring articles and to receive your free Selling Wisdoms E-zine with powerful selling tips visit his Advanced Sales Training Website http://www.sammanfer.com