June '15

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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Page 14 of 122

Jeffrey Gitomer is the author of The Sales Bible, Custom- er Satisfaction Is Worthless Customer Loyalty Is Priceless, The Little Red Book of Selling, The Little Red Book of Sales Answers, The Little Black Book of Connections, The Little Gold Book of YES! Attitude, The Little Green Book of Get- ting Your Way, The Little Platinum Book of Cha-Ching, The Little Teal Book of Trust, The Little Book of Leadership, SELLING SMART B Y J E F F R E Y G I T O M E R and Social BOOM!. His website,, will lead you to more information about training and seminars, or email him personally at I recently went to a networking meeting hosted by Business Net- work International (BNI). It hosts meetings all over the world. This particular chapter gathering took place in New York City and was populated by sophisticated professionals who are on fire in their respective industries. Big Apple business people, in gener- al, take no prisoners. This BNI chapter takes no amateurs, and its meetings are exceptionally well structured. I went as a guest—without an agenda—just to meet people and provide value. I began my networking career more than 25 years ago, so I consider myself a relatively experienced meeting attendee. This specific conference is purely a networking opportunity rather than a social networking event, like a chamber of commerce get-to- gether or another similar association meeting. The group predominantly meets to give business and get busi- ness. My interest was to meet new people and observe how the meeting ran. KNOW YOUR NETWORK Most people take networking for granted and think of it more as a place to meet friends and clients rather than capture an opportunity. They also fail to realize that people, whether you know them or not, cultivate an impression of you––not just about your career and skill set but also based on how you act and how you dress. Physical presence, physiology, and communication prowess can determine whether the outcome means business or no business. To maximize your chance of achieving positive and profitable re- sults, try following my top-10 rules for networking. 1. I shake and look. When I shake someone's hand, it's a firm grasp and a direct look in the eye. 2. I smile—even in New York City. I have found that by giving a smile, I get a smile. 3. I ask before I tell. Whether I ask for a name or a simple, pleasant greeting, I first want to hear from the other person before he or she hears me. 4. I give before I get. I always try to make connections for others before I ask for one. 5. I don't make small talk. I make big talk. I don't want to talk about the weather. I want to talk about life and business life. 6. I want to make certain that I take the next step if the opportuni- ty is there. This is anything from a simple exchange of business cards to a cup of coffee, an office meeting, or an invite to a social event. I want to make sure that my objective is achieved before I go on to the next person. 7. Known or unknown? That is the question. I prefer to invest the majority of my networking time with people I don't know. I tend to make small talk with people I know and bigger talk with people I don't know. Personally, small talk leads to small business or no business, and big talk leads to big business or the opportunity for big business. 8. I like everyone and qualify no one. If you like people, it's likely they will like you back. If you try to qualify people by asking them questions about money or circumstance, their guard will go up instantly. 9. Every connection need not be a sale. Make friends, build rap- port, and provide value to everyone without prejudging or qual- ifying them. I refer to it as the rule of "you never know." And "you never know" has no time limit. Sometimes it happens in a week, and sometimes it happens five years later. That's why it's called "you never know." 10. I'm brief. Time allocation at a networking event is not an op- tion. If there are 60 people in the room and the meeting lasts for one hour, you have one minute per person if you want to meet everyone. If you take five minutes with each person, you can only meet 12 people. The choice is yours, but be aware of time. I've just given you the parameters, guidelines, and rules that I have followed for 25 years. These are major tips that make appointments, build relationships, and close sales. How's your networking working? 12 || P R I N T W E A R J U N E 2 0 1 5

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