The Five Steps of Successful Networking

We all know this is a very precarious time for new business and job hunters. We also know that networking, referrals and introductions are important to success.

In networking for new business and counseling those looking for jobs, I recommend these five steps developed in concert with Dave Winford, my business coach and Jim Boros, a long-time friend and outplacement counselor.

The five steps of successful networking are target, skills, talents, research and read.

Step 1 – Target

Pick three specific companies you’d like to work for or like to sell to. This focuses you and helps you direct those that you want to network or refer you to these targets. And ask these 3 targets for 3 names when you meet them.

Step 2 – Skills

Tell me your three best, special skills. Is it sales, marketing, analysis, execution, planning, etc.?

Step 3 – Talents

Know your better talents, your edge. Is it presenting, persuading, organizing, and developing? How are you specifically an asset in your unique industry knowledge or transferable capabilities?

Step 4 – Research

You have to know and understand what is happening in your prospect’s business and market. So read his and industry websites, newsletters and blogs. AND go visit places where he sells his product and talk to his trade customers and consumers. Get industry insights on line and through his trade associations. Talk to influencers, and even talk to the media about your targets.

Step 5 – Read

Important business and industry media, including The Wall Street Journal, the Economist, BrandWeek and industry trade magazines, blogs, websites and whatever gives you the inside information about your targets.

This isn’t rocket science, and it is about controlling your search, and building confidence by doing so.

Happy hunting!