"He who has begun has half done."
Networking is nothing more than creating connection and great relationships. Lighten up and have more fun and you'll find the energy will return to you abundantly.
To keep the pipeline of new prospects full and increase our sphere of influence, we must continually increase our visibility and prospect for new business. Becoming known is, first, a matter of being out there, remembering what Woody Allen said: "80% of success is showing up."  Next, you must be willing to shamelessly be obvious. Not pushy and obnoxious, but proud of what you do, realizing your skills are an answer to a problem for people.
One of my coaching clients recently mentioned how uncomfortable it was to prospect and network.  The "let's do lunch," insincere passing out of cards and asking for business that became the hallmark of 80's networking has left a bad taste in our mouths. The new model is that of attracting business and adding value for people. Relationship marketing is healthy and FUN!
If you sometimes struggle with how to network without seeming self-serving, here are some thoughts that may make it easier.
1. Find out WHO the other person is.
If you are genuinely curious about others, it is easier to start conversations and people usually love talking about themselves. Make the goal in your conversations to connect rather than impress. It's like a treasure hunt to find out as much as you can about the other person. The more interests and experiences you have in common, the easier it is to connect and remember each other.
2. Network EVERYWHERE.
Use every opportunity you have to meet and network.  The grocery store line, the gas station.  Wear your name tag and be shameless. Just ask people if they know of anyone who needs a great Realtor (or coach or ?).
3. WIIFT What's In It For Them?
Develop a 30 second introduction that clearly states a benefit for the person you are meeting. Ideally, your introduction is a positioning statement that lets them know how you can help them or someone they know. How is what you do different or better than others?  Practice this introduction so you can say it in your sleep.
4. Give first.
Or as Harvey Mackay says in his networking book, Dig Your Well BEFORE You Are Thirsty: Give to your network at every opportunity . . . depositing into the bank account of reciprocity. People don't like owing favors and will try to keep things even by giving back to you.
5. Go where you are known and loved.
Some people hesitate to ask for business from their friends or their spheres of influence, fearing they will come across as opportunistic and obnoxious. However, most people would rather do business with someone they know, someone they like and trust and/or someone who does business with them.  Be shamelessly proud of what you do.
6. Did I say . . . give first?
Or as Emily Link of RE/MAX Thousand Oaks in California says: "When you get up each morning, think of who you can GIVE business to today!"  Emily's business has thrived because she is generous and creative in sending business to others.
7. Know your target market.
And provide a solution to a problem they have. If you are very clear about who your perfect client is and what their needs are, it will be easy for you to offer services and ways of doing business with you that will appeal to them.  It's harder to build a business as a generalist, trying to serve EVERYBODY. Focus more narrowly and get VERY creative in discovering what unique needs your perfect client has.
8. More importantly . . . give first!
Or as Napoleon Hill says in his classic book, Think and Grow Rich, use the mastermind principle: When a group of individual brains are coordinated and function in harmony, the increased energy created through the alliance becomes available to every individual brain in the group. Hill cites examples of people who did this as Henry Ford and Mahatma Ghandi.
9. Expand your network.
Continually adding new contacts, resources and people who are experts to your database is a way to be a resource for others and increase the opportunities of reciprocal business.  Use the Team 100 List developed by CoachU. If you add other professionals regularly and you do business with them or send them business, the abundance energy will be circulating and return to you.
10.  Use the Six Degrees of Separation theory.
Here's a game I like to play, using the theory of Six Degrees of Separation (that we are only six people away from finding out ,anything we need to know).  In talking to people, discover who or what they know that is something you've been needing or wanting to find out. Ask questions and watch the surprises happen. You'll find people have hobbies and interests you would have never dreamed or they are related to someone, grew up with someone or now are friends with someone that would make a difference to you. Be curious and what you will find out will surprise you. Everything you need has been provided for you!
By Joeann Fossland, Master Certified Coach, who can be visited on the web at
Copyright 2001 CoachVille

1.   OK, ready to have some fun with networking?
2.   Identify 3 networking opportunities for this week.
3.   What are the unique needs of your perfect client?
4.   Briefly, what are the benefits of working with you?
5.   Go have some great conversations, connections and and add to the web of life!

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