Who are the people you’d like to meet that could make things happen, and more importantly, make things happen for you. And how do you go about meeting them to make a good impression?

Everyone has a circle of influence. That can be your friends or coworkers, or maybe your employees. ...Who are the people you’d like to meet that could make things happen, and more importantly, make things happen for you. And how do you go about meeting them to make a good impression?

Everyone has a circle of influence. That can be your friends or coworkers, or maybe your employees. Think of the clubs that you belong to, your family, business associates, friends, and neighbours. Not all connections are powerful, nor will they necessarily lead to sales. They are simply connections.

Take some to time to create a list of all those you have connected with…call it List A. Beside each person’s name, jot down what they have done for you? Next, write down what you have done for them.

Now, make a second list…List B. This list will include all those people you want to meet – your wish list – and include what you want from them - and what you can offer them. Now cross reference List A and List B. Are there any connections? If not, figure out how you can create that connection within two to three calls.

It’s possible that your friend, Betty, from List A knows Janice from List B…and Janice is someone you definitely want to meet. But don’t act impulsively. Just because Janice discovers you both have Betty in common, that may not be enough to make this important connection. Instead, ask Betty to set up a three-way meeting, say over breakfast or lunch, where the three of you can meet. This can make a powerful connection, with your friend providing valid feedback and positive reinforcements.

What you need to do is to expose yourself to the marketplace in a valuable way… and give others a reason why they would want to connect to you.

So here are my 10 Strategies for Connecting, which is the first step in making things happen.

Strategy #1: Be friendly. People do business with people they like and trust. People who smile are more attractive than people who don't. Smiling sets the tone for others. How often do you smile?

Strategy #2: Project a confident self image. The way you dress, and that’s everything from your hair to your shoes including your handshake, is an indicator of who you are. Your first impression is what sticks, and unfortunately, it's not always accurate.

Strategy #3: Eye contact. Look the other person in the eye as you speak. Eye contact needs to be steady without being too piercing or weak. Direct eye contact shows that you’re attentive, supportive, truthful, honest. A good rule is to maintain it at least 80% of the time. (There’s nothing worse at a networking event when you’re trying to talk with someone and he keeps looking over your shoulder at who else has entered the room. It does not lead to a good connection.)

Connecting Strategy #4: Maintain a Positive Mental Attitude. Do you look for the good in every situation? Do you think it’s partly sunny or partly cloudy? Your positive attitude will breed positive responses and positive results. Being positive will make you more enjoyable to be around.

Strategy #5: Make connections with a single focus – that of simply making the connection. Forget the agenda, whatever it may be. Your first step is always to seek friendship and acceptance… not on making a sale.

Strategy #6: Give value. The strength of relationships is built by giving value to others, not facts about you. Give leads, referrals, and connections that can lead business to others. And have answers. Be a resource for others, not just another salesperson.

Strategy #7: Be genuinely interested in others. Ask questions so you can get to know other people better. You're not just trying to qualify them for a sale, but you want to learn from them. Asking questions will give you a better understanding of who you're meeting with.

Strategy #8: Relax. Notice how you communicate with your good friends. Do you communicate differently with business people? You probably do. Pretend your customers are your best friends. Your conversation will be more relaxed, truthful, and less manipulative.

Strategy #9: Discover what you have in common quickly. Find common ground and you always have something to talk about. Think about the things you love to do, places you've traveled, where you went to school, and where you grew up. If you can find a link with the other person, you've turned a casual connection into a personal one.

Strategy #10: Stay in touch. This can have more impact and be more valuable than making the initial connection.

Most people attend networking events to better themselves in some way. But many people attend just to sell. You can stand apart… attend a networking event well-prepared to help someone else get better or to improve themselves.

Dale Carnegie said it best: "You can close more business in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get people interested in you."

If you can find common interests with the prospective connection, you can easily establish a business friendship, and people want to buy from a friend.

Networking is not a one night stand. Treat everyone who tries to make contact with you with respect and dignity. Never pre-judge others. And approach each person you meet as if you plan to keep in touch forever. Then do it.

Author's Bio: 

Susan Regier is the publisher of www.NetworkingToday.ca, Canada’s fastest growing ezine for business resources, and the head writer of Vantage One Writing, a professional copywriting service for businesses. 519.471.8726 Email: susan@vantageone.ca Web site: www.vantageone.ca