Have you ever wondered where your networking is going wrong? Perhaps you feel like you’re putting in the time and the leg work but those all-important connections aren’t coming through with tangible opportunities. Bells ringing? Read on…
Networking is a key part of marketing for many businesses. When it works, the rewards can be huge but when it doesn’t it can feel frustrating and a waste of time. Like all forms of marketing there is an art and a science to networking effectively. Over the years we’ve witnessed our Opendoorz members learn to excel at networking and reaping the rewards as a result. We’ve known the winning formula instinctively for a while but it was one of our members, Rob Allaway of Property PR company DevComms, leading a CPD session on ‘The Psychology of Persuasion’ that really switched on a lightbulb for us about the psychology behind great networking.
Rob led a great session in our Oxford group based around the book ‘Influence: the psychology of Persuasion’ by Robert B. Cialdini which explores the six areas of influence that are commonly used, particularly in marketing. Rob put us all to work thinking about how and when we use these areas of influence in our own jobs and that’s when the penny dropped! These six psychology tricks that marketers use to influence customers can also be applied specifically to networking and leveraging maximum results from it. Read on to discover what the six areas of influence are and how you can apply them to get better results from networking.
You are much more likely to get a positive response from someone who knows and likes you. From a networking perspective, putting in the effort to get to know your fellow members and finding out those common factors that allow you to build rapport and familiarity will pay off. Take the time to listen to others and pay them compliments where due. When the time comes (as it will) that they have an opportunity, then you will be in pole position to help them out.
Equally, the concept of liking is of benefit when it comes to referrals. If you approach a prospect saying that the person they know and like suggested you get in touch, you are more likely to get a positive response.
Humans are socially attuned to the rule of reciprocation (‘you scratch my back, I scratch yours’). If you’ve helped someone out, they are much more likely to be positively disposed towards any requests by you. In human culture, there is an obligation to give, an obligation to receive and an obligation to repay. In networking terms, we’ve seen Opendoorz members leverage this area of influence by being generous with their time and knowledge, freely giving away useful advice and information that helps others out and leaves them feeling indebted.
#3Commitment and consistency
Commitment and consistency are seen as virtues in human culture. When someone makes an initial choice or decision, they tend to stick to that and not change their mind. In networking, you can use this by aiming small to begin with. By that we mean focus on encouraging your fellow networkers to entrust smaller, ‘easier to say yes to’ purchase decisions. Once you have ‘your foot in the door’ so to speak it becomes much easier for people to say yes to bigger projects.
Social proof is the tendency we all have to see an action as more appropriate when others are doing it too. In reality, very few of us (about 5% of humans) are genuine innovators. The rest of us (95%) are imitators – following trends and being influenced by others. You can use this to your advantage in networking by name dropping clients, referencing previous work and giving testimonials.
When you position yourself as an expert in your field you create an air of authority. Authority naturally instils obedience in most of us – if they say X it must be true. In your networking, you can create an air of authority by being generous with your knowledge and expertise and drawing on real examples and case studies that show how you made a difference to previous clients.
It’s an age-old marketing trick but one that never fails. Opportunities always seem more valuable when their availability is limited. As a rule, people are more motivated by the thought of losing something than by the thought of gaining something. Use this to your networking advantage by emphasising demand for your products or services and talking about others who are already using you. Come across as in demand and you’ll soon be in even more in demand!
Use these simple tips and tricks in your networking to make sure your getting the best bang for your networking buck. Over the last 10 years, we’ve seen Opendoorz members use this approach to make networking a key part of their marketing strategy and they’ve reaped the rewards. Not to mention the amazing ongoing collaborations that have been formed and continue to go from strength to strength.
If you’d like to experience the Opendoorz difference for yourself, get in touch and join us at one of our guest events in the near future. We’d love to welcome you along!