It is said that a good networker has two ears and one mouth and they should be used proportionally. We should be listening twice as much as we are talking. If you are doing a good job listening you will usually hear one of these three things going on.
- Planning – people talk about their plans all the time. What they are going to do in the evening, for holiday, gifts they are going to buy, holidays events, buying or selling a home. As you can see it can be quite a list of things that people are planning. When you learn to listen and ask questions you will soon find referrals for the members of you network.
I had a friend who was so excited to show me her new apartment and all the new furniture she had purchased. It was beautiful, I asked her if she had purchased renters insurance to protect all of her beautiful new things. I was able to refer her to an insurance agent whom I knew and trusted.
- Bragging – don’t we all brag about things on a regular basis? We brag about our children getting accepted into a school, a team or even receiving a good grade. We brag about our new car, new ring, a proposal, a promotion, an accomplishment or an event. We love to talk about these things. In each one of these lies the opportunity to offer up a connection to someone. When some friends were telling me about the university that their children would be attending, it only took a few well place questions to generate a dozen referrals.
Questions such as, “Do you have a good travel agent?” Because you need to have a plan when she decides at the last minute she really does want to come home for the holidays. “Do you have a connection to a good insurance agent who can connect you to one of their local colleagues?” “Have you considered the value in buying a place rather than renting a dorm or an apartment?”
Of course it helps if your network teaches you what to listen for and what questions to ask in order to help refer them.
- Complaining – we all do this one almost daily. We complain about the noisy neighbor, how small our bathroom is, how crowded our house it, how much time we spend doing things, how expensive a service is, how slow business is and thousands of other things. Complaining is often a sign that someone is looking for help. The most common question I ask a person when they are complaining about something is simply this, “Is that something you would like to find a solution for or are you just venting?” If they are just venting I let them know that should they ever need a solution I have someone I can connect them to, someone who can help. If they are looking for a solution then I make the connection.
Learn to listen and identify the type of conversation. Are they happy and bragging; aggravated and complaining; or planning for the future? Each and every one of these conversations can open up opportunity to help both that person and your network member.
Keep It Simple
There are few women better at building a global network than Hazel Walker . Renowned for her straight talk and no-holds-barred approach, Hazel is a globally sought after speaker.