Liz Dennery Sanders
Luminary Circle founding member and former chair of the Los Angeles Board of Directors Liz Dennery Sanders offers Step Up members insight each month into key steps to success.
Every person you meet has the potential to become a valuable connection. You also have the power to be of service to everyone you come in contact with. In fact, the more generous you are with your time, knowledge and expertise, the more likely that you will become a master connector. The more diverse your network of connections, the more powerful and effective your network becomes. Doors will open for you that might have remained closed otherwise.
But not everyone is comfortable with the idea of networking. It sometimes gets a bad rap as a “pushy sales pitch” or “insincere chatter.” But if you’re in it for the right reasons, then it doesn’t have to be like that. It’s really all about connecting and sharing with others – your knowledge, your network and your compassion. If you look at it as adding value to every person you come in contact with – even if it’s just a smile – then your connecting experience can be transformational.
Here are eight non-traditional networking ways to connect with friends, clients and business associates – and not a rotary club breakfast or cocktail party in site!
- Invite five clients to lunch – Create “Raving Fans.” Pick five past or current clients who you feel would be your best referral sources and take each of them to lunch or dinner individually. Ask them what you can do to help them in their business and let them know that you want them on YOUR R&D team. Let them know that you would like to survey them occasionally to find out what their greatest needs are. Ask them individually the following three questions – in order:
- What is it that you like about doing business with me?
- How can I improve upon my service to you?
- You are one of my ideal clients. My goal this year is to work with more people exactly like you. Do you know of any people like you that you could make an introduction for me?
- Stay in touch with friends, clients and acquaintances with cards – birthday, holiday, anniversary etc. Pick a special occasion that you love to celebrate (mine is Valentine’s Day) and send a custom card to your list/database.
- Under-promise and over-deliver. In other words, add value when it’s least expected to set you apart from the rest. Get creative with what “client extras” you can include in your business such as: special notes, gifts, surprise lunch, movie tickets, great new business book, articles, jokes etc.
- Write hand-written thank you notes each week. You can always find someone to thank and be grateful for.
- Be willing to WOW and SURPRISE the members of your cheering squad – your personal brand ambassadors. Don’t underestimate the power of a small gift such as a great new business book, a box of chocolates, a gift certificate for a massage or a delicious lunch delivered right to their office. Develop a referral acquisition strategy. Be willing to ASK and the REWARD those who send referrals your way. Constantly nurture those who become a part of your cheering squad.
- Refer business to your clients. I guarantee that your clients are looking for ways to build their businesses too.
- Reward people for sending referrals. I am a big fan of sending gift cards with a thank you note – Starbucks, Container Store, Barnes & Noble, AMC Theatres etc.
- Once a month, ask someone you admire and respect for lunch, coffee or even a brief visit at her office. Show up prepared, with questions, and use this time to discover the “secrets” to her success. Make sure you follow-up with a hand-written thank you note and maybe even a small gift.
©Liz Dennery Sanders 2010
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©Liz Dennery Sanders 2010
Liz Dennery Sanders wants you to build your buzz and be successful beyond your wildest dreams. As the CEO of Dennery Marks Inc., a brand development and celebrity outreach firm, she founded SheBrand, to help female entrepreneurs, executives and small business owners build powerful personal brands with style, attract more clients and position themselves as experts in their industries. You can reach her directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.shebrand.com