26 Aug Do You Have a Networking Plan of Action?
Typically, if you confine yourself to your work station, you may fall short of the most successful positions in the firm. You will only reach the higher tiers of success when you have developed either a “book of business” or key relationships inside and outside your firm.
Establishing a plan of attack to incorporate networking into your day-to-day business is essential to building your brand. Your plan does not have to be too detailed. Consider factors like how much time you can put aside from your everyday work to connect with other people, including travel time, email exchanges, and other related activities.
Not every meeting or communication will be meaningful or appear useful. However, you can still learn a lot about the way you present yourself and your business that can be useful to improving your brand and professionalism.
We offer the following pieces of advice when crafting your own networking plan:
Have Go-To Strategies
Consider creating a “routine list” that you will follow for each networking event you attend. This can include things like:
- Getting the names of the people attending a meeting ahead of time so that you can learn names, faces, and companies.
- Arriving early and standing near the entry door to greet those that arrive and create a lasting impression.
- Bringing a certain number of business cards, one-sheets, or marketing materials as “take-aways.”
Plan Your Time
There’s always “real work” to be done, but networking can’t take a backseat to business all the time. If you make a list of minimum monthly activities and treat them as nonnegotiable work priorities, you’ll be more likely to succeed.
Consider crafting a list of essentials to follow each month, such as:
- Schedule lunch with a prospective client – 4/month
- Schedule lunch with a referral source – 2/month
- Write a blog post – 4/month
- Host a supper club – 1/month
- Produce a webinar – 1/month
- Spend 20 minutes on social media – 8/month
- Deliver a live presentation – 2/month
- Attend a networking event – 1/month
Make It Count
Even if you show up to countless networking events, give dozens of presentations and webinars, and have lunches with perspective clients and referrals every week, you won’t see any results if you are not likeable, useful, and professional.
Try to react warmly to everyone you meet, listen actively, and always be receptive to help someone in a personal or professional way. This form of unsolicited generosity makes a lasting impression, increases your likeability, and makes it more likely that you’ll develop lasting connections that will be meaningful in the long run. You will be considered a COI, Center of Influence.
If you do offer to help someone, be sure to follow through and be accountable. And of course, you’ll have to stay accountable to your networking schedule and goals.
Make Yourself Accountable
You can set up visual reminders of your networking schedule and goals, such as photos, sticky notes, or automated reminders on your calendar.
It can also be useful to share these goals with a partner, a colleague, or a mentor so that you’ll be motivated to stick to your plan. That way, you can report progress and provide updates.
At Legacy Forum, we maintain a community of professional service providers that foster deep and mutually beneficial relationships with one another. Our elite organization brings together Southern California’s top service professionals to focus on business, personal, and professional development through shared experience, knowledge and purpose.