Networking is not what it used to be

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Author: Ron Sukenick

As we look toward the end of 2012 and beyond, there is a lot to think about and understand as it relates to the world of networking and business relationship development. Networking as we know it has undergone many changes since about 1995. If you think that you’re going to continue doing what you have been doing as it relates to business networking, allow me to offer some suggestions that may change your mindset and improve your ROI from networking.

Here are the facts.

a. Networking is awkward for most people

b. Networking is hit and miss for most people

c. Networking is always situational

d. Networking in most instances is about individual success

e. Most networkers are not following up with people they meet

f. And last and most relevant is that networking is never about you. It’s always about the other person.

So with that said, I’ve chosen to make some suggestions on what you should consider doing to make the most from the business networking relationships you have developed and are in the process of developing. By doing so, you’ll get closer to making the most from your business networking relationships as you look to 2013.

15 top suggestions for greater networking success in 2013

1. Invest more time with people – The biggest investment you will make in building productive working relationship is TIME. Simply stated, the more you know and understand others, the more likely that relationship will flourish.

2. Become purpose driven – If building relationships are going to be at the fore-front of you networking activities, then you first have to strengthen your relationship with self. Self reflection, reason for being, and vision are an important part of that process. If you don’t take the time to sit back and work on yourself, who will?

3. Create unparallel visibility – The bottom line for more business in 2013 is becoming more visible. That means getting targeted with face to face and on-line social networks. While Facebook is a cool place to hang out, consider strengthening your profile and connection base on such sites as LinkedIn, and other industry specific portals to make more of a professional impact worldwide. Also, take a closer look at the micro sites that are more geographic to the area where you are marketing your services and creating impact.

4. Develop relationship strategies – Everyone talks about relationships. Now you can do something about it. A relationship strategy is anything that you can do that adds value to others. Strategies put you in command and control of your relationship mindset. Don’t just talk about it. Do something about it. Develop your strategies today.

5. Relentlessly follow-up – –Think about some of the recent networking events you attended and ask yourself the following questions:

a/ From the 10-15 people you met, how many actually followed up with you by sending a note in the mail, an e-mail, or a phone call and said – “What a pleasure it was meeting you at the recent any-town Chamber of Commerce event”?

b/ In fact, ask yourself the same question – How many did you actually follow up with a note, an e-mail, or even a phone call?

6. Be in a hurry – The biggest driving force in most countries continues to be speed. People want what they want, and they want it NOW! Take the moment and dance with it. Don’t wait to get better connected. And don’t wait to provide the support that’s needed now by the many people your meeting.

When you act immediately, when you don’t procrastinate, you are being proactive and by being proactive, you’re generating excitement, energy, focus, and enthusiasm. This leads to greater opportunities for success.

If most of your efforts are in the reactive mode, it’s simply a slower process and your generating fatigue, crisis management, thus often leading to failure.

7. Find ways to become more useful and resourceful to others – Whatever you have done to satisfy anyone yesterday, it won’t be enough to satisfy them tomorrow. I want to suggest that you immediately look for no less then 6 ways that you can become more useful and resourceful to others. Let me give you a hint. Keep meeting people. The more people you know that know what to do next, and know how to get things done, the more useful and resource you will be.

8. Increase you frequency of interaction – Increased interaction brings increased cooperation with others. Too many times people fail to follow up with contacts. If you can get up to 6 interactions with anyone, it’s likely you’ll have a good beginning for a relationship that will never end. See my suggestion # 5 for more comments to support this suggestion.

9. Join a referral club – There is a distinction in the kinds of networks that exist. Go for the strong contact, referral giving groups. The BNI’s, LeTips and the newest and closely watched Gold Star Referral Club are your best bet for the greatest return on your time and money invested.

10. Connect the Dots as often as you can (making the most from the Small World Phenomena) –When was the last time you heard that infamous expression – It’s such a Small World Isn’t It? – Keep in mind that the power in your networking efforts is always in the connection. The connection between you and the people you are meeting is actually between you, them, and what you may have in common.

11. Increase the rewardingness – If you want people to act the way you want them to act, you have to increase the rewards of being and doing business with you. Weather it’s knowing more people, becoming a better listener, or even just putting in a toll free number to reach you, people will always respond to something they like and appreciate. Rewards should be ongoing.

12. Take the Joy of Interaction to higher levels – Let’s face it. The reason why you love this thing called networking is clearly because of what I call – The “Joy of Interaction”. Even when it isn’t necessarily productive it can still be fun. When you’re out interacting with others, consider bringing the following characteristics to the table – fun, excitement, passion, creativity, dependability, responsibility and support. Make it a joyful experience for the people you are meeting.

13. Go after the relationship, not just the sale – This is the very reason why most people find networking so ineffective. They are going after the sale. When looking to build your business, think relationship first.

14. Don’t manage people (manage the system) – Systems build business and are more predictable and reliable. In a networking environment, it’s very difficult to get people to do what you want them to do, and if you could, it would have to be with their own willingness to get it done. My suggestion is that you stick to a predictable system that works every time. If interested, go to YouTube and search for the Ron Sukenick Toaster story. It’s a metaphor for how you can build relationship with the use of a system. You will love it.

15. Listen three times as much – When you listen, you learn what others know. The power has always been in the listening. When was the last time anyone said – Thanks for taking the time to listen? If it’s been while, go back to work and become a great listener. Great listeners have great connections.

Stay focused; challenge your thinking and underlying beliefs; be more strategic; go after the relationship; connect the dots; make the connection; and always take the moment and dance with it.

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About the Author

Ron Sukenick is the Chief Relationship Officer and founder of the Relationship Strategies Institute, a training and Relationship development company that provides innovative, effective and relevant programs and systems for corporations, organizations, and associations. To learn more about the value of Relationship Development, visit his Web site at You can reach Ron by phone at: 317-696-1367, or by email –

Victor Chuma

Victor Chuma

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