The importance of networking is a well-known key to business success but did you know there are six categories of networkers – the Socialite, the Serial, the Initiator, the Occasional, the Balanced and the inactive?
With over 20 years experience as a professional networker and speaker, Sue Henry has developed the six types with an aim to help people understand their networking characteristics and how this plays a role in the type of business relationships they develop.
“If a person is a Socialite networker it means they love to attend any type of function, often making great guests because they love to chat and meet new people. However the Socialite must be conscious of maintaining a healthy balance between networking and work-time.”
“The Serial networker is someone who is always busy, a whirlwind of information and interested in making ‘quick’ friends. Whilst this is a great way to ensure a large network of contacts, they need to remember that building a business relationship slowly, can help develop trust in the future.”
According to Henry, the key factors for successful networking include; maintaining contact after functions, learning the secret to making new contacts in short amounts of time and developing a personal networking strategy to maintain a healthy balance between work and play.
An employer’s role in ensuring staff has access to training and networking events is also crucial, “When a staff member learns the secrets to developing and maintaining business relationships, they become a vital asset to the company. Their extended network can lead to new business, help in a crisis situation or even being one of the first to know in many situations.”
6 TYPES OF NETWORKERS
Socialites often make great networkers; they love to attend events, meetings and will always say yes to meeting up for coffee, lunch or dinner. They can be relied upon to ‘lighten’ up any event – they are involved and involving. Generally speaking these are the people that will seek out the person standing at an event on their own and include them in their conversations. Event organisers love these people; they are the ones that will forward on information to their ‘circle’ and invite colleagues and friends to join them.
Socialites are great connectors and generally will be able to put you in touch with the right people to help you get what you want. Be warned though if you are a ‘socialite’ you do run the danger of spending too much time socialising and connecting people that you leave little time for yourself to do the things you must do, often resulting in time pressure and unfinished business. You run the risk of being relied upon a little too much and find yourself wondering why you do for everyone else but rarely for yourself. The key to being successful if you are a socialite is to maintain a balanced schedule between socialising and business, time must become your friend not your enemy.
The serial networker is always busy and has plenty of business coming their way. They are often known to rush around from one network to the next collecting business cards and making quick ‘friends’. These are the people that rarely give you a chance to talk or catch your breath before they have you involved in their business, projects or connecting with some random stranger that unbelievably will bring business to your front door. They are a whirlwind of information and have a database that reads like a business who’s who directory. They are often involved in projects and will give freely their time and resources, as long as it fits in with their schedule and needs.
There is a danger with this type of networker and for those that don’t necessarily like attending events meeting the ‘serial’ is their worst nightmare. The serial can appear overbearing, pushy and out for themselves. While this may not be the case, unfortunately that is how networkers like the Socialite and the Occasional will perceive them. Words of caution for the Serial networker – slow down and remember not everyone is on board as quick as you. Some networkers have a need to slowly build relationships and trust.
The Initiator is the type of networker that you meet who is not only well connected to others, but has strong relationships and will only connect you with people for a common purpose that will benefit both parties. This is often the person you meet at a function, on a bus, through a friend or business interaction that sees opportunity and will follow up with you. They will call and arrange a time to meet and discuss opportunities and get things going. Before you know it these are the type of people that will help you get what you want, because of their ability to cut through the red tape, clear the clutter of thinking too much and ability to take action they initiate change, action and results.
The Initiator is extremely resourceful and if they don’t know something or someone they will know someone who does. The Initiator is often a very busy person; take care to not waste their time. If they have a challenge or frustration it is working with people who do not follow through on what they say. This can make them extremely cautious in working with you or assisting you again. Initiators are the real money people; they know where the customers are and how to service them and a lot can be learnt from this type of networker. They can be great advocates and are good relationship managers. They often operate with a ‘what you see is what you get’ attitude, however, be prepared – they will pull no punches if they think you are wasting their time.
The Occasional is the most common type of networker that exists. They occasionally attend events, they occasionally follow up, they occasionally seek to meet new contacts and they occasionally connect other people. Pretty much they network occasionally because they need to; either business is slow or they feel a need to seek opinion, ideas, social interaction or business from others. These are the people that think ‘I really should do more networking’ and don’t because they let other things get in the way and don’t truly understand the real value networking can bring.
Typically they will go to an event, meet new people, exchange business cards and not follow up. Sorry; occasionally they will send a ‘nice to meet you’ email but not much more will happen after that. They rarely get business from networking so categorise it as a nicety rather than an integrated part of their overall marketing plans. Be cautious if you fall into this category; it can be difficult to re-connect with those that you have not maintained a connection or a relationship with.
The Balanced is the type of networker that seems to do things easily and effortlessly. They are consistent with their actions, follow up when they meet people, see opportunities when they are presented, connect people and give without expectation. Achieving all of this while running successful and growing businesses, they understand the true value of what networking means to their business and integrates it into their daily, weekly, and monthly activities.
They never forget a name or where they met you and connect with people anywhere an opportunity presents itself, at the hairdresser, on a bus, in an airport, at a function, at a party. Importantly they plan their networking activities. They know each day who they will call, each week what events they will attend and who they will follow up with and who they can connect.
You know who you are and what you should be doing! These are the people that in the past have thought ‘I really should’ but just don’t. They often think networking is a waste of time or are fearful people will reject them or they think they are just too busy to network. To move out of this category all you need to do is one thing… NETWORK!!! It won’t kill you; in fact you never know what it might bring!
To learn more about networking skills visit www.suehenry.biz or phone 1300 885 650 (toll free)