Of all the marketing strategies you can use, networking represents the most effective method for growing your business. Ironically, to many of us, networking and building relationships are often seen as the most uncomfortable form of business development. In fact, the very idea of networking can bring forth feelings of anxiety, fear, and dread to even the most outgoing and confident professional. Shaking hands at useless and annoying networking events, mixing sweaty palms with pigs in a blanket, all in one massive business card swap is often seen as a total waste of time. Each person you meet trying to “sell” you. Many of us would much rather visit a dentist for root canal surgery than attend a networking event.
But the fact remains that nothing gets done and your goals will never happen without the help of other people. Dale Carnegie, the father of human relationship training, in How to Win Friends and Influence People said that financial success is due to 15% of one’s technical knowledge and 85% to skill in human relationship management.
One networking idea for introverts was described by Srikumar Rao in “Are You Ready to Succeed.” Rao suggests you pick 5 people that appeal to you and for which you would like to cultivate a relationship. Write them a letter letting them know what you admire about them and state a specific way you can be of help or use. You might even consider sending a letter of congratulations on a promotion or award. One highly successful attorney I know would consistently send out letters of congratulations to people he read about in the paper and trade magazines. After a few years, his network exploded as did his business. This type of tactical networking requires less game playing and serves to form a network around you.
Try it and see what happens!