3 Super Simple Networking Strategies that Solidify Relationships

Networking may seem difficult, but it’s actually quite a simple concept.

In fact, from birth, we are wired to network. Networking is simply about building relationships with others. On a personal level, we do it naturally with our family and friends.

Yet when you mention networking in regards to business, it suddenly becomes cold, calculating, and well, a lot of work.

I’m an introvert, so networking can be especially scary for me. But due to today’s technology, I am able to network every day in a way that I am comfortable with: online.

As a blogger and freelancer, networking helps me to build my business. But it also allows me to grow, learn, and connect with others who have similar interests.

Networking need not be work — you can learn to enjoy it!

3 No-Fail Methods for Networking the Natural Way

I’m going to share 3 of my favorite strategies for networking. Nothing complicated here – these tips are simple, easy to follow, and organic. But when used in an authentic manner, they can solidify relationships both on- and off-line.

Strategy #1: Remember details about people

People like to feel special.

One easy way to accomplish this is to treat them like an individual by remembering things about them. Remember details about their family situation, career, favorite shows, hobbies, pets or anything else that they may be passionate about.

I am one of those people that are blessed to remember details about people, even those that I barely know, especially if I read them. This comes in handy for networking. Not good at the details?

A family member of mine recently shared this trick: Keep a notebook with details about each of your contacts so that you can recall them later.

This is especially useful when you talk to these individuals by phone or online, but if you will attend a meeting, you can study your notes before you talk to them in person. Follow up with them using those personal details and you will be on your way to building a relationship.

My contacts normally learn pretty quickly about the things that I am passionate about. I love when I get a comment or email that speaks to something I like and lets me know that they are thinking of me.

Provide that same feeling of being special to your contacts and they will remember you for it.

Strategy #2: Be nicer than you have to be (or than they’re used to)

Let’s face it: Manners are often lacking these days.

Regardless of the reason why, common courtesy is not so common anymore, so people are taken by surprise when they are exposed to it. For example, it is a pet peeve of mine that someone that you never have met may email you with absolute informality, including the lack of a salutation, greeting, and proper ending. I prefer to treat my emails and other online correspondence (including comments) as letters.

Some of my favorite ways to do this is to address them by their name; say a greeting to let them know that I am thinking of them, like “I hope that you are doing well,” “How are you?” or “I hope that you had a good weekend”; state my business; thank them for their time; send a wish their way, like “Enjoy your day.” or “Here’s to a great week!”; and sign my name. It takes a little longer, but people notice it.

How do I know?

Because they start to reciprocate and communicate with you in the same fashion. Kindness catches on.

Strategy #3: Support their endeavors

Another great way to show that you care is to show support for your contacts.

There are many ways to do this. Maybe you have a friend or business associate that is running in a marathon to raise funds for a favorite charity. You can choose to donate to their cause or share it with the rest of your contacts to help get others involved.

  • Does another blogger have a blog post that they are trying to promote? Maybe you can share it on your social media outlets or link to it in a blog post of your own.
  • Is someone selling something? Let your network know about it.
  • Do you know someone who just started a new social media account or joined an online network? ‘Like’ or follow their page or endorse their skills and talents.

There are so many easy ways to support others. It does not take a lot of effort—just think about some of the ways that you would appreciate help and do those things for others.

3 Super Simple Networking Strategies that Solidify Relationships

The Golden Rule of Networking

When you are networking with others, don’t overcomplicate the process. Utilize many of the skills that you have learned over the years about how to build personal relationships with family and friends to strike up and strengthen your business relationships.

Instead of implementing contrived and forced networking strategies, keep it natural and focused on the connection, not the outcome.

Enjoy meeting and connecting with others and the natural progression as the relationship blossoms.

Think about what makes you feel special and what you appreciate that others do for you and go out of your way to show concern for others.

When you put the focus on the relationship, it takes the work out of networking.

What are some of your favorite ways to build relationships with family and friends? How can you apply those strategies to your business relationships?

Please comment below and share some of your favorite networking techniques that are authentic, but effective.


Comments

3 Super Simple Networking Strategies that Solidify Relationships — 7 Comments

  1. Alan,

    I want to thank you for allowing me to provide this guest blog post and in doing so, to be a small part of your new endeavor. It was fun to write, and I hope that your readers have found it to be helpful.

    Networking is something that I continue to discover how to do on a daily basis. You have to figure out what works for you in your own situation. The best networking is realized when you keep things personal.

    Best of the New Year to you and your family!

    –Jennifer

    • Hi Jennifer,

      thanks so much for writing it. There’s so much to discuss on the topic of networking – it’s fundamental to a lot of things we do and how we interact in this rapidly changing world with all of the possibilities in front of us these days I think makes for very interesting discussion, so I very much appreciate you adding your perspective,

      very best wishes,
      Alan

  2. Jennifer,

    Your networking strategy sounds a lot like a friendship. We get to know our friends and their interests and then support them as the relationship blossoms.

    Even though a friendship is much deeper than a networking relationship, they are both still relationships where both parties can benefit.

    You are right, if you focus more on the relationship then that takes the stress and fear out of networking.

    Thanks for this great article. I tend to be introverted too but being online has helped me open up.

    ~Allie

    • Allie,

      I am lucky to know you because you are a great networker! I find your methods very inspiring.

      I think networking is very much about friendship. Although you may not have the same level of informality in some business relationships as you would in a typical friendship, it is still important to get to know the individual and to learn how they work.

      Online communication has been a big blessing for introverts like us, both from a work perspective and for allowing us to grow in our communication skills.

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts and for sharing the article online!

      Best of 2014 to you and yours, Allie! 🙂

      –Jennifer L. Lopez

    • Hi Allie,

      I find your comment re: friendship & networking relationship really interesting & I think it suggests that you have to some degree seen ‘networking’ as something business people do – or at least something that is to be treated separately to friendship – is that fair?

      I don’t see it like that at all.

      Networking is an activity we all do and are all capable of, and though it has become a bit of a catch phrase bandied about in business circles etc and can conjure up negative associations from people thinking of tacky networking events etc, it’s a perfectly natural thing.

      So I actually see ‘friendship’ and ‘networking relationship’ as the same thing in so far as a friendship is just one type of networking relationship, others being business relationships, client/customer relatonships, B2B, B2C… well, any ‘type’ of relationship you can imagine really.

      Lots of my networking relationships end up being friends to a lesser or greater degree (i.e. to confuse matters further, we also have many different levels of friendship).

  3. Hi Jennifer, I appreciate your article because building a relationship is far more valuable in the long run than just trying to push a product on somebody. Thanks Luis

    • Luis,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

      You are definitely right in saying that relationships trump sales. The benefit is that when you have built a good relationship with your contacts, they are more likely to trust you and possibly partake of whatever products or services that you have to offer. People prefer to buy from someone that they know and trust.

      I used to sell Avon for a while and my “sales calls” normally ended up being more like “social calls.” ;)I really got to know my customers and that is probably one of the things that I enjoyed the most about the experience.

      Have a good evening.

      –Jennifer

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