There are many different aspects that make a great networker. And these are some of the most commonly accepted:
1- Listen Actively to fellow members.
At least twice as much as you speak. When doing your SE (SWOT Exchange meetings) make sure you don't abuse your 30 minutes, wrap things up when you get to minute 25! Make sure you listen to the weekly presentations attentively, taking notes, looking at the person presenting, having your video on, asking clarifying questions when appropriate. After a fellow member does the featured presentation, ask questions that show you have an interest in creating referrals for them.
2- Have a Positive Attitude.
Finding the negatives in a situation requires zero effort and zero intelligence. Don't be the naysayer in the group. Surely you know about someone that complains about the venue, the coffee, the food, the air, the light, the location of the venue, the time of the meeting, what someone has said or done, what someone has not said or done. Remember we are here to build positive, professional, working relationships. And our attitude is either a wall or a bridge.
3- Show you a Sharing Attitude.
Fellow networkers have to see you are able and willing to cooperate with them. Don't show a "What's in it for me" attitude. Some people approach networking groups with a mindset of squeezing as much value as possible when convenient for them, and then leaving when they feel they have the best referrals they could. That is a shortsighted way of looking at networking. A great networker will build relationships that will help him/her in the long run, and that is why being proactive in collaborating with others is crucial.
4- Be Authentic.
You can't fake showing interest. People can smell at a distance when you don't actually care for them. And yes, we are here to do business primarily. So obviously we have a professional interest that drives our networking activities. That's fine, isn't it? And yet, that is perfectly compatible with actually caring for the wellbeing and interest of our fellow member in the long term. Little things unite a referral team as much as sincerely helping one another in times of need, and in times of abundance. It's ok to be together when you're in need of growing you business. But when you can show your authentic interest, is when you renew your membership in a situation when you have plenty of customers and maybe you are pushed for time, and yet you understand the value of giving back to your referral team, and continue caring for them as they care for you.
5- The Secret Lies in the Follow-Up.
Follow-Up on referrals Given on a timely manner. A poor networker is like a soldier that places a bomb and forgets where he put it. It will go off and somebody will loose big time. When you ask for referrals, guess what! You tend to receive them. And when you fail to give the person referred to you a great experience by contacting them ASAP, you are damaging at least three relationships. Your relationship with your fellow member, the relationship that could have been created between you and the new contact, and the relationship between your networking partner and his/her contact. Everybody suffers because of your lack of planning, organisational skills, or interest. Have a great Follow-Up process, and stay true to it!
6- Show a long-term outlook to care for the relationship.
Don't be aggressively looking for short-term referrals. Referral sales are based on cultivating the relationships, not hunting for sales. It's not about forcing the transaction, it's about nurturing the relationship, that yields in time abundant harvests with many sales through referrals. This means a great networker never tries to sale anything to a fellow networker. That would be like forcing your sales reps buying your own product. You care for them, train them, and add enough value to the relationship, so they want to help you with great referrals. And that requires time, care, and interest.
7- Be prepared.
Get to know fellow networkers, their interests, requests, capabilities, value propositions, etc. A great networker sends his/her SP (SWOT Profile) many days or weeks in advance, to make sure that the other person can prepare. And never does a SE when he feels the other person did not have the chance to prepare. When you network with professional people, you have greater visibility. When you are not well prepared, that visibility has a negative effect on you, your personal brand, and your business. And the opposite is true. When you always make efforts to be prepared, others feel in turn ready to refer business to you.
Share your comments and thoughts, and Happy networking!