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Networking For Success
By Alfred Lautenslager

We've all heard that networking should be an integral part of our total marketing plan. But what is networking? And is it the same for off-line marketing as it is for on-line marketing?

Many Internet marketers venture off into classified ads, opt-in mailing lists, and postings of all sorts. Many times the traditional networking ways of off-line marketing are forgotten. So, what is networking in the traditional marketing sense, (NOT networking marketing or MLM programs)?

Simply stated, networking is contact to establish relationships that can lead to business. Sometimes the path to business is direct; other times it is indirect such as referrals. The person you know knows someone else who needs your products/services. This is the most important rule of networking. Many people go to a networking event hoping to do business. It doesn't work that way. Your goal of attending a networking event is to meet two or three people, find a reason to follow up and start a relationship. The business will most likely come from an indirect referral that they know needs your products or services.

Networking means making these contacts and building on them by talking with people about what you do and who you are. It also is in turn, listening to them to see how you might assist them in what they do.

These contacts, the people you need to know or the people that can help you, might be right under your nose. To help build that list, answer the following:

1. Who has taken an interest in you lately or in the past?
2. Who have you been good friends with?
3. Who do you always talk business with when you get together?
4. Who has helped you or offered encouragement or advice in your business.
This list could go on and on but the general notion is we are already networking, networking is all around us and the people to build our network with are with us everyday.

The other thing you can do is fill in the name of a person next to a particular classification like friend, neighbor, former employer, etc. My favorite example of this is learning how valuable the parents of my daughter's sports teammates were in my network. Standing on the sidelines of soccer game, the conversation often goes, "What do you do" or "Where do you work?" and the rest is history as they say.

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2003 Alfred Lautenslager

Al Lautenslager is a speaker, author, business owner, consultant and marketing coach and also the author of The Networking Workbook, How to Instantly Add People to Your Network. It is available at http://www.networkingworkbook.com as an immediate download. Al also is the featured PR expert for entrepreneur.com. He can be contacted through his website, http://www.market-for-profits.com.

 

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