Recently, I had a chance to interview a masterful networker by the name of Michael Forman. He is currently working on a book about networking. Since I have a book available on sales techniques I thought it would make sense to talk to him for my audience. The following are the highlights of our conversation.
Michael, you have been extremely effective in networking, specifically, networking for sales. To what would you attribute your success?
Don’t try so hard. Be yourself. I always find the lighter side of situations-try it, you will like it. I always try to help somebody out. What they are looking for. If you help enough people it will come back to you.
What makes networking an effective marketing tool?
People tend to trust you when they can look you in the eye. You get to know the person. You can “feel” what they are about. I always use the Mantra – If they Know, Like you and Trust you – They will do business with you.
What advice would you offer someone who is just getting started networking?
Go to every networking event possible. The first one or to is a little nerve racking but after that it becomes easier. Here is a hint. Don’t pass out more than 5 business cards. Only hand them out to the people you are really interested in. If you go to an event and start spreading your cards around like butter, you will be treated as an amateur.
In my book Quit Making Sales Hard! I provide a checklist of attributes that most successful people have. What are your top 5 attributes?
I always Smile
I look people straight in the Eye
I always give a Firm Handshake
I treat everyone the same, whether they are a CEO or a Janitor of the building
I give everyone Time. Even if I know I won’t get business, you never know who THEY know.
What sets great networkers apart from good networkers?
In the book I’m writing I speak about these four attributes as being key to being a great networker:
RELAX! If they Know you, Like you and Trust you they will do business with you.
Be the expert in the field without the cocky attitude.
Build a rapport with everybody. Avoid the feeling that you are wasting your time. You are not!
This is a big one. I put HUMOR in everything. Do your best to find a common ground and make light of it.
Michael, you mentioned working on a book about networking. Can you give us a hint as to a key takeaway from the book?
Sure. Many people have asked me, “What’s the MOST important part of Networking?” There are so many important areas, but I think the most important is building Rapport. This is where you really find out about a person. In the book I speak about this by using the following formula: F- O-R-M
F- Family. Ask about their family, spouse or loved one, their kids. Find some common ground.
O- Occupation. What makes their business go? What makes it really tick?
R- Recreation. What do they do for fun? This is another great way to connect. And most people love to talk about this subject.
M- Message. What do THEY think is important?
These are just the tip of the iceberg. When I speak at corporate events, sponsored meetings and clubs, I use these same techniques.
Michael, if someone wants to know more, how can they get in touch with you?
The can go to my website – http://www.michaelaforman.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org