The Starting Point for a Successful Networking Strategy?

by Rob Brown on April 22, 2013 · 0 comments

open networking 2What exactly is a networking strategy and why do you need one? Why can’t you just show up to networking events and win bucket-loads of business?

A business networking strategy is essentially a marketing plan for your networking efforts. Like any good marketing plan it describes who you want to meet, how you’re going to meet them, how you’re going to help them and what you’re going to say/do when you get in front of them.

You need one because without it, you’ll probably show up at the wrong events, talking to the wrong people and getting all the wrong answers. A massive waste of time and energy for all parties!

If you want to craft a killer networking strategy that maximises your time input and bring you maximum return on your financial investment, then you’ve first got to sell YOU to YOURSELF! Ask yourself:

•             Why should anyone buy from me if they need what I do?

•             How can I make them choose me instead of my competition?

If you cannot answer these questions, you’ll look and sound like everyone else. Is that what you want? That’s what makes so many networkers bland, samey and BEIGE! Surely you don’t want to blend in. You want to stand out. You’ve got to give people compelling reasons to listen to you, buy you, refer you and talk about you. Making people choose you, above and beyond all of their other choices (including the choice to do nothing) is the hardest thing for all of us.

Here’s a great way of putting this that I came up with a few years ago.

If what you do is OPTIONAL, or what you do has COMPETITORS, people can choose not to use you.

So what is it about your proposition that sets you apart? That makes you different? That compels people to choose you? Once you’ve got that, does it come out in your conversations, your marketing, and your elevator pitch? The pro networkers have a strong proposition. Ask yourself:

•             What is it about what you’re selling that makes you special?

•             Why should I choose you above and beyond all of my other choices, including doing nothing?

In a crowded, predatory marketplace, you’re looking for attention. You’re looking to stand out in some small but significant way. Differentiate or lose!

•             Are you the first, best, cheapest, latest, oldest, newest, fastest, closest, biggest, smallest or safest?

•             Are you the most radical, convenient, innovative, experimental, strategic, thorough, global, positive, entrepreneurial, relationship-based, profit-centric, results-focused or customer-led?

•             As well as the stuff your competitors do, are you also an author, thought leader, innovator, campaigner, speaker, coach, mentor, consultant, connector, referrer, philanthropist, problem-solver and comedian?

There is a marginal difference in the recipes for Coke and Pepsi. Yet plenty of business for them both. Think about that as you go head to head with every one of your competition.

So before you go to your next networking event, tell me this. What are you selling?

Rob Brown
Rob Brown is an expert on making more money from business networking, online and face to face. He loves working with people who want to network for more sales, referrals or career opportunities, Rob’s books, coaching and dynamic talks have helped clients such as GE, HSBC and a range of speakers, leaders and business owners. A regular media contributor, Rob is founder of the Global Networking Council (the world’s top 200 networking thought leaders, authors and gurus) and author of the bestselling book How to Build Your Reputation. For a free copy of Rob’s Networking Follow Up Checklist – 45 tips to Turn Your Business Cards into Business, go to

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