Our Dog Buddy Guy is very good at Social Networking! This mild Chicago winter has allowed us to get some exercise with daily walks. Each day Buddy gets to network with the neighborhood dogs by checking his P-Mail (thanks to Kizer & Bender for that reference). He stops occasional and says “Hi Ginger” or “Hi Bailey” or “Nice work Jack”! He returns the favor by saying “Hi” on a tree or snow pile. Occasionally he gets to say “Hello” face to face with his friends and their families! But he is very excited to get a chance to network with his buddies. Can someone please tell me how the dog can tell time and know when to stop me from working to make sure he gets his daily Social Networking in on time?
Be a Resource…
Yesterday I was asked if I could help someone with their 10 minute presentation this morning. She is part of a Tuesday morning networking group in Plainfield. She needed to show a YouTube video on the restaurant's 48″ TV. Of course I said “Yes”. That's part of the goal of networking and part of my brand… to be a resource to people!
The question I have to ask you is… do you treat people more like a client (or opportunity to create sales for you) or do you treat them more like a partner (someone who you have a vested interest in their success)? I can assure you that clients act like SALES and partners act like your SALES TEAM!
Last Year I attended 20+ networking meetings a month with 12 different groups. This year it's been trimmed back to 13 meetings with 6 different groups (2 meet weekly and 2 meet bi-monthly). Tack on an average of 4 presentations a month. Additionally, each month includes 12 personal training sessions (about 3 per week). The point is we all have a lot of opportunities to be a resource for people… but it does not end there!
Be The “G”!
A friend of mine, Felicia Slattery is a public speaker and trainer. She was giving a presentation at a networking event and said something that caught my attention… “Be a GOOGLE to your friends and collegues”. My wife Kim likes that because she is known as the “Google Queen” (even at her new job). Just like K&B put an understandable phrase to Buddy Guy's networking… Felicia gave me a term to better describe what to do on a regular basis. Whether it's through a phone call, email, text, Tweet, Facebook or LinkedIn message… people are always contacting me saying “You know everybody… do you know a guy or gal who does catering, video, pooper scooping, logos, painting, coaching, Quickbooks (insert your request here). More often then not… I have multiple resources to call and choose from. THEY get to choose what fits THEIR needs and budget!
Be the Google!
It's hard to be a resource to people without information at your fingertips. Google does it through vast databases and data mining. You can do the same with a little prep work… and it could even help you in your daily business! Here are a few tips to help you better organize information, to be a better networking partner…
1) Treat Business Cards Like Gold!
How many piles of business cards do you have? I've seen people who put them in files, and folders and sometimes boxes! Turn that business card into Data Gold! With a Neat Scanner, I scan every business card I get, then add them to my email news (Buddy Guy calls that PMail news), and then add it to my address book. Yes, some people unsubscribe after the first email, but many re-subscribe after I send them a contact or client!
2) Organize, Categorize, and Prioritize
When I get that card, I try to add notes of how I met the person, what they specialize in, and how they may help me, my friends and clients. If they are only trying to sell me something, they are still added to my address book. If I think they are different than other people who do what they do, I add notes. And IF we get the chance to have a coffee and do a one-on-one and really feel that they can be a quality resource, they get put into a special category in my address book… “Vendors – Video”, “Home Remodeling”, “Personal Services”. That makes it much easier to copy and paste multiple people into an email response to “Do you know someone who does????”.
3) Be GOOGLE Accessible
We all know people who act more like Vampires who want to SUCK the knowledge out of you for free and for their own gains… but there are many more people who will appreciate your knowledge and connections, while not taking advantage. The benefit to you, is that they are more likely to return the favor when someone asks them “Do you know anyone who (insert your skills here)”. When somebody texts, Facebook messages, calls or emails with a request… do your best to be prompt, honest, and a resource!
The Bottom Line…
Social Networking is about creating relationships with people… not business card piles! Help people when they need it and they will remember you, and more often than not… return the favor!
Your questions and comments welcomed!