Networking in 2012: How To Grow From Wimp to Warrior In 6 Easy Steps

February is our Warrior Networking month! Learn how to apply last year’s lessons and failures to this year’s networking plan.

So, how exactly, do you apply what you’ve learned to propel you ahead of the competition?

Read on…Cincinnati networking

Step 1: Move from general to specific

You’ve got your elevator speech prepared and perfectly rehearsed. At the end of your elevator speech, list three specific companies that you are currently targeting. Better yet? Name the gatekeeper.

Step 2: Use your tools

Time to break out your Excel spreadsheet or calendar. Create three columns:

  • Your referral partners
  • Your regular groups or meetings
  • Your centers of influence

In the spreadsheet or calendar, fill out all twelve months of the year and pick a date for each set of contacts. Record when you last contacted them and when you plan to reach out again. Permanently set yourself on this schedule. Follow through.

Step 3: Develop your personal thank-you brand

Create a unique thank-you technique that is memorable. One of our clients regularly mails out colorful, mismatched, handwritten thank-you cards after each and every meeting.

Tie that “thank-you” brand into your company, logo or professional image. Got a ton of free Starbucks coupons lying around? Cards for an Itunes download? Send em’ out!

Step 4: Do the math

Take a good, hard look at your networking efforts over the last year. Add up how much you’ve spent and how much revenue you’ve directly generated from those efforts. Evaluate whether it’s really been worth your time or not.

If the revenue generated is less than the time you’ve spent, select another group.

Step 5: Personally seek out where to give

For all the contacts that have brought you business, contact them either via email or phone call and ask what types of contacts that they are currently looking for. Have your address book or contact list handy. Give them a list of prospects or connections right then and there.

Step 6: Announce your efforts

There is a fine line between self-promotion and suggestive connections. Use your social media tools to let others know what you are looking for.

Start a LinkedIn group discussion, blast out on Facebook or Tweet about your efforts. Start with what has worked for you, what hasn’t, who your currently targeting and who you’ve helped. Do it graciously and modestly.

What other advanced networking techniques have you applied to your business in 2012? What has worked for you? What hasn’t?

Share your thoughts with us below.