There are salespeople who easily build rapport with others. Conversely, there are reps who have a more difficult time doing so. Regardless of comfort level, reps must make the effort to network. Self-proclaimed introvert, R.L. Adams recently wrote an article for Entrepreneur that reveals his own struggles with engaging comfortably (and effectively) with other professionals. “I was never really able to network like a real pro,” he writes. “But when I realized just how powerful of a tool this was, I threw myself into it.”
Adams points out that the most successful networkers aren’t takers. Actually, they are givers. He cites entrepreneur Joe Polish as a major influence on these views of networking. Polish believes that there are 10 ways to build “magical rapport,” and they all rely heavily on giving. Adams shares each one, explaining why each is vital to building relationships. Below are just two highlights from the list:
Focus on helping to reduce their suffering in some way. If you want to be a successful networker, seek to alleviate others’ problems. Find out others’ pain points and see if you can help. “When you focus on helping others to solve a problem or reduce their pain in some way, you create a long-lasting bond and it's forever emblazoned in their minds,” Adams explains. And, the more value you add to the relationship, the stronger that bond becomes.
Be useful, grateful, and don’t take people for granted. Inevitably, you are going to come across others who are rude, crass and downright unlikeable. But, those people’s behaviors are not a reflection of you. Stand out by always being gracious and polite. And, don’t take others for granted, ever. “It's easy to overlook someone and not give them the time of day because you don't think they'll add anything of value to your business or your life,” Adams writes. “But that's a huge mistake.”
The remaining tips in Adams’ article will likely help you improve your networking skills. As you shift your focus more to giving, you may find your relationships are not only more plentiful but also stronger.