At the Know stage of the process you are aiming to build a network of people who know about you and know about your business. You should commit to being consistent in attending events and make a real effort to keep in regular contact with your developing network group. The members of your network group will then see you much more and therefore get to know you much more. You will be on their collective radar. At this stage you will get to know them as well. You may well know many, if not all, of the network group within quite a short time. You will begin, hopefully, to move into the Like sector.
Reaching the Like stage is not actually about being liked in the sense of “I like Andy, he’s a really great guy”, although being liked in this way is obviously a real bonus. Rather, you will be liked as in accepted as a serious and consistent business person with a good business offering. The members of the networking group who like you would readily consider asking for your advice or input and might even consider referring you if the opportunity arose.
Bear in mind here that you are aiming for quality business relationships. You will not be liked by all members of the group and, in turn, you will not like all of the group members. It is unrealistic to think otherwise. The numbers in your network circle at each stage of know, like and trust process should reduce. It is simply a factor of the time available to spend on maintaining each relationship and the depth of the various relationships. You have to go for quality over quantity if all parties in the deeper relationships are to benefit.
The real business benefits start at the Trust stage of the process. Here, people will genuinely want to work with you or have you do work for them and they will happily recommend you to others if asked. They may even become advocates for you; actively and enthusiastically looking for opportunities for you, as they work with their own clients and customers. This group should be your networking core. You will form close bonds and you will likely become good friends with them. You will likely be acting as their advocates as well. You will have to earn this trust and maintain it well. Remember, what goes around comes around in the world of business and business networking.
I enable individuals and organisations to develop far more effective, persuasive and influential face to face marketing, sales, presentation and speaking skills. I also write and speak about face to face marketing and motivation. I am the author of “Business Networking for the Bewildered.”