Make A KEEPER pile of cards based on these following criteria:
- CLIENT POTENTIAL- possible client for your business
- THE CONDUIT- this is a very special individual who truly GETS IT! They hold the magic of successful networking and it will reflect in their business, their public reputation and their performance. The conduit brings people together (almost like a matchmaker) and helps others through relationship-bridging. He/she holds the true spirit of networking by sharing, exchanging and giving of themselves and their resources with the intention of being identified with community good. The conduit is rich in connections because they make it their business to know everyone who matters in their business and has the smarts to choose the right "friends" to connect. They build deep relationships by "saving the day" for anyone who needs help and can fit any and all KEEPER categories below. This is also known as a "super-networker" who believes in "you gotta give to receive" and extending to others is part of their human nature and is the very root of their business success. When it comes time to referrals, the conduit will always rise on top in the minds of those who are seeking a professional service purely because of their good nature and connective actions.
BUSINESS PARTNER- someone you might consider working with or someone you could "sub
- ALLIANCE- someone you may consider joining forces with to co-promote. Allies also cover a wide scope of loyalties that may be public or private. Alliances are built on strong trust, mutual regard for each others' talents or simply a good feeling about them. Another term for this is a "strategic alliance"
FOR SOMEONE YOU KNOW- possible client or vendor for a friend
- REFERRAL SOURCE FOR YOURSELF- someone who could attract clients for you from their network
- COMPETITOR BUT A GOOD CONNECTION- a potential ally or a technical camaraderie; today's rivals could be tomorrow's partner
- POSSIBLE VENDOR- could be someone you could hire or refer to your friends
- MATERIAL RESOURCE- someone who has better vendors, tools or recommended products that can help your business
- INFO SOURCE- someone who could give you valuable knowledge or background about your industry, events, current marketing methods, insights on vendors or collaborators on business practices. An information source is priceless because they are usually seasoned practitioners or entrepreneurs who have learned expensive lessons the hard way- where you benefit from their experience-based perspective.
THE "NO" PILE- Here is where you gain that instinct of survival by filtering out the parasites or the solicitors. Also, the NO pile could simply be those whom you have nothing in common with. But when you are sifting, just make sure that you will definitely positively never never regret tossing them away. Most people base the reject pile on intuition or negative feelings about that person, their industry or their business title. True networking is about building bridges with others and if you don't feel that sense of mutual exchange or common gain, DUMP THEM. Relationships should not be forcing to squeeze a friendship out of someone who is not meant for you- this will most likely lead to being a complete waste of time.
Note that there are so many things to be gained from networking. This list should give you an idea of the many types of relationships (grey areas) that can be established out of an event. So perhaps the next time you go to an event, keep this list of possible connection types in mind. As a business, we need people for all sorts of reasons!
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Watch Karin Caro's chapter @the HOW2 STATION about "How2 Use Social Media"... and get noticed the social way!
Ms. Caro is also the founder and CEO of BluChip Marketing- Long Island's own PR management group.
Endorsement & special thanks to Scott Eisenberg for references and images used for this article. Visit swapthebiz.com