The most important reason to focus on your brand is to reap the results that an effective brand delivers. Your brand will generate an emotional connection with each person who encounters it – the key is to make that a positive experience. All humans, to some degree or another, make decisions based on emotion. A brand that creates positive emotional connections is more likely to revel in positive results.
Powerful brands create powerful relationships which, in turn, lead to powerful results.
Networking, in the business world, is a common approach to finding new relationships. Unfortunately, that term can often evoke negative reactions – and justifiably so. Too many people have the wrong idea as to what networking is intended to be. The purpose of true networking is to create mutually beneficial relationships – the key words being mutually and beneficial.
Too often people confuse networking with selling. Many approach opportunities to meet new people with the self-centered perspective of “How can this person be beneficial to me?” Meeting one or two people with this attitude should be expected and can be tolerated, at least to a degree. Whether such thinking should or shouldn’t be tolerated isn’t the real issue, however.
The real question is this – Is focusing on your own needs and objectives a strategy which will yield powerful relationships? The simple answer is NO!
Think about it, how do you react when a total stranger engages with you and immediately begins touting their product or service? For me, and most people, that’s a sure-fire way to eliminate any chance of doing business with me.
In his book Endless Referrals – Network Your Everyday Contacts Into Sales, Bob Burg says this –
“People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care—about them and their problems.”
That makes sense – but how do you go about doing that? Simple.
Doing the Two Step – Creating Powerful Relationships
- Be InterestED
Always begin a new relationship by being interested in the person(s) or company that you’re speaking with. This holds true whether you’re meeting in person or online. Ask them questions that give them the opportunity to speak about themselves – their interests, their likes, their needs. Be open. Learn. Genuinely care.
Virtually no one will walk away from a conversation when they are speaking about themselves. Even if you don’t say another word, they’ll feel good and leave with positive thoughts about you.
2. Be InterestING
Once you’ve established a positive setting, speak about yourself. Start by relating things about yourself which are in keeping with the flow of the discussion so far. Provide insight into yourself as a person – and then as a professional. Be conversational. Build a foundation for a relationship to bloom.
Building a mutually beneficial relationship takes time – it requires patience and persistence. Importantly, it requires a good beginning. By first being interested and then being interesting, you create a foundation to build upon.
Relationships are important because, as a rule, people do business with – and refer business to – those people (brands) that they know, like and trust. The networking “two step” will open the door to establishing those powerful relationships.