Is it the ability to "work a room," or maybe taking and giving out business cards like candy? Perhaps it's the stereotypical idea of being aggressive by trying to sell everybody in the room--any room! It turns out none of those ranks very high.
According to a survey conducted by Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of Business Networking International, those traits aren't appreciated by most networkers. Dr. Misner asked 2,000 people in the U.S., Canada, United Kingdom and Australia to rank a variety of traits in order of their perceived importance to networking. The following chart from his book, Masters of Networking (Bard Press, 2000), shows the results.
Top Ten Characteristics of A Successful Networker Percent of Respondents Mentioning Characteristic at the top 5 traits. Aren't they characteristics of people you enjoy doing business with?
Follow Through: The number one answer in the survey focused on integrity. Networkers most appreciate working with somebody who does what they say they will. For a great referral partner, look for someone who respects the value of referrals and follows through on the contacts you give them.
Positive & Enthusiastic: Master networkers appreciate a positive attitude almost as much as follow through. And they understand the power of a network partner who is enthusiastic about giving and receiving referrals. Working with positive people can give you a different outlook on business and life.
Trustworthy: Would you connect your family, friends and most valuable business contacts with somebody you don't trust? Neither do the best networkers. Without trust on both sides, the referrals--and the money--fade away.
Listening Skills: Networking pros value somebody who can quickly discern what they need. A good listener will take those skills to your referrals and deliver their best, making you look good. Now, notice that the aggressive "work the room" strategy is at the bottom of the list, with less than half of the respondents thinking it's important. These statistics demonstrate why the masters say networking is about farming, not hunting.
These top traits take time to develop and prove to new contacts. The seeds you plant in networking today will grow into a great harvest if you nurture these traits in yourself and your business partners. The results also show why one person called networking "Open Door Selling."
How many new doors would open to you if you consistently practiced these characteristics within your network? ACE believes in the power of networking to grow your business. It's why we strive to be better at what we do every day.
Be part of our network: Visit ACE Printing and Mailing Services, or call us at 415.460.2800. You can also visit us online atwww.acepms.com