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12 Things Super Networkers Do Differently

12 Things Super Networkers Do Differently

Is your networking having a positive impact on your business or career? Is the time you are investing paying dividends or are your coffee dates leading to friendship and nothing more? The world revolves around relationships, we have known for years it’s not what you know but what you know AND who you know that will get you to the top.

Networking is an activity which is becoming essential for businesses and individuals to develop their careers. But it should be done with intention. Here are a number of tips which may put an end to fruitless networking and help you join the ranks of the Super Networkers.

BEFORE THE EVENT

1. They choose the right events

There are thousands of networks both online and offline you could become a part of. Choosing the right events and networks to invest your time in is the first step to effective networking. If your target market is financial services, go to events interest people from the financial services industry. Networking requires a substantial time input, so make sure your time is invested in the right place.

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2. They plan and prepare

A good networker is a good planner. Do your research in advance, know who is attending the event and figure out if anyone you know can introduce you to the person you want to speak with. Don’t float aimlessly hoping to meet the right people. Be strategic.

3. They make it about the other person

Although you go to networking events to let people know you exist, once you get there you must focus on them. It may sound counterintuitive if your intention is to grow your business connections and hopefully create interesting leads for yourself but this is how it works. Ask the question – what can I do for you? Making networking about the other person is the best way to make yourself memorable and create connections who will genuinely want to help you and your business succeed. It’s all about the other person.

4. They are present

How many times have you met someone who asks you what you do and spends the rest of the time scanning the room as you reply? How does that make you feel? Never do this to another person. We may have our targets in sight and want to get an opportunity to speak to them, but rather than make another person feel bad, tell them straight. I really want to speak to that person tonight so please excuse me while I try to connect with them. Anyone would much rather you did this than half listen to what he or she is saying.

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5. They are good listeners

Being present is the first step to being a good listener. Listen intently to the person speaking to you and think about how you may be able to help him or her. The more you remember about a person the next time you meet him or her, the better the relationship will be.

6. They ask insightful questions

In order to listen well you may have to ask clarifying and insightful questions. Show the person you are interested in him or her and what they are saying.

AFTER THE EVENT

7. They capture contacts

You arrive back from the event with a pile of business cards. Don’t just throw them in a drawer, capture the details in a way you can follow up when required. Use sales or CRM software. If you don’t have one of these packages, Excel will do just fine. Capture the details and any information you think may be relevant for future encounters.

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8. They follow up

Don’t forget to follow up. You have good intentions but you never seem to have the time to follow up. Make time. After the event follow up after a couple of days. Never do a hard sell. Say how it was nice to meet them, if you have any relevant news to tell them let them know. Never use a follow up email as a means to sell. You may want to ask permission to add your contacts to your mailing list. You could tell them you checked them out on social media and followed or liked them. You could say you looked at their website and will recommend their services if the opportunity arises. There are many ways to make the initial contact without trying to sell yourself.

9. They fulfill promises

Make sure you make a note on the night of any commitments or promises you have made to people. If you promised to forward a connection or send them information make sure you deliver. They will lose respect for you if you cannot fulfill your initial promise.

10. They use their network

If you have all your contacts together in one place it will make it easier to use your network when the time arises. If you are looking for a supplier, your network contacts should be your first port of call. Keep in touch with your network by sending them useful articles or by inviting them to a business event when one arises. Stay fresh in their minds.

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11. They make getaways

The reality of networking is there will be times when you need to make a getaway. Your ideal contact is moving towards the door and you will kick yourself if you miss this opportunity. My tactic is to tell the truth as much as possible. Excuse yourself, go speak to your target, then go back to the person you were initially speaking to. If you need to make an escape because you can’t listen to another minute of someone’s self-absorbed sales pitch, you could try telling him or her nature calls, you need a glass of water, or you need to put more money in your parking meter. Whatever way you do it, try to take the person’s feelings into account (even if he or she wasn’t worried about yours) and on a strategic level you never know who you are speaking to nor the value of their network.

12. They value quality not quantity

And lastly remember at the end of the night it is more beneficial to create two warm leads that have a pocket full of business cards.

Networking is about building relationships and this takes time. You may get frustrated starting out but know it pays off in the end. Follow these useful tips and you too can become a super networker

Featured photo credit: IMG_9565.JPG by Andy K via morguefile.com

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Ciara Conlon

Productivity coach, speaker, blogger and author of Chaos to Control, a Practical Guide to Getting Things Done

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Last Updated on January 6, 2021

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

14 Ideas on How to Measure Productivity to Make Progress

Everyone has heard the term productivity, and people talk about it in terms of how high it is and how to improve it. But fewer know how to measure productivity, or even what exactly we are talking about when using the term “productivity.”

In its simplest form, the productivity formula looks like this: Output ÷ Input = Productivity.

For example, you have two salespeople each making 10 calls to customers per week. The first one averages 2 sales per week and the second one averages 3 sales per week. By plugging in the numbers we get the following productivity levels for each sales person.

For salesperson one, the output is 2 sales and the input is 10 sales: 2 ÷ 10 = .2 or 20% productivity. For salesperson two, the output is 3 sales and the input is 10 sales: 3 ÷ 10 = .3 or 30% productivity.

Knowing how to measure and interpret productivity is an invaluable asset for any manager or business owner in today’s world. As an example, in the above scenario, salesperson #1 is clearly not doing as well as salesperson #2.

Knowing this information we can now better determine what course of action to take with salesperson #1.

Some possible outcomes might be to require more in-house training for that salesperson, or to have them accompany the more productive salesperson to learn a better technique. It might be that salesperson #1 just isn’t suited for sales and would do a better job in a different position.

How to Measure Productivity With Management Techniques

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to fine tune your business by minimizing costs and maximizing profits:

1. Identify Long and Short-Term Goals

Having a good understanding of what you (or your company’s) goals are is key to measuring productivity.

For example, if your company’s goal is to maximize market share, you’ll want to measure your team’s productivity by their ability to acquire new customers, not necessarily on actual sales made.

2. Break Down Goals Into Smaller Weekly Objectives

Your long-term goal might be to get 1,000 new customers in a year. That’s going to be 20 new customers per week. If you have 5 people on your team, then each one needs to bring in 4 new customers per week.

Now that you’ve broken it down, you can track each person’s productivity week-by-week just by plugging in the numbers:

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Productivity = number of new customers ÷ number of sales calls made

3. Create a System

Have you ever noticed that whenever you walk into a McDonald’s, the French fry machine is always to your left? 

This is because McDonald’s created a system. They have determined that the most efficient way to set up a kitchen is to always have the French fry machine on the left when you walk in.

You can do the same thing and just adapt it to your business.

Let’s say that you know that your most productive salespeople are making the most sales between the hours of 3 and 7 pm. If the other salespeople are working from 9 am to 4 pm, you can potentially increase productivity through something as simple as adjusting the workday.

Knowing how to measure productivity allows you to set up, monitor, and fine tune systems to maximize output.

4. Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate!

We’ve already touched on using these productivity numbers to evaluate and monitor your employees, but don’t forget to evaluate yourself using these same measurements.

If you have set up a system to track and measure employees’ performance, but you’re still not meeting goals, it may be time to look at your management style. After all, your management is a big part of the input side of our equation.

Are you more of a carrot or a stick type of manager? Maybe you can try being more of the opposite type to see if that changes productivity. Are you managing your employees as a group? Perhaps taking a more one-on-one approach would be a better way to utilize each individual’s strengths and weaknesses.

Just remember that you and your management style contribute directly to your employees’ productivity.

5. Use a Ratings Scale

Having clear and concise objectives for individual employees is a crucial part of any attempt to increase workplace productivity. Once you have set the goals or objectives, it’s important that your employees are given regular feedback regarding their progress.

Using a ratings scale is a good way to provide a standardized visual representation of progress. Using a scale of 1-5 or 1-10 is a good way to give clear and concise feedback on an individual basis.

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It’s also a good way to track long-term progress and growth in areas that need improvement.

6. Hire “Mystery Shoppers”

This is especially helpful in retail operations where customer service is critical. A mystery shopper can give feedback based on what a typical customer is likely to experience.

You can hire your own shopper, or there are firms that will provide them for you. No matter which route you choose, it’s important that the mystery shoppers have a standardized checklist for their evaluation.

You can request evaluations for your employees friendliness, how long it took to greet the shopper, employees’ knowledge of the products or services, and just about anything else that’s important to a retail operation.

7. Offer Feedback Forms

Using a feedback form is a great way to get direct input from existing customers. There are just a couple of things to keep in mind when using feedback forms.

First, keep the form short, 2-3 questions max with a space for any additional comments. Asking people to fill out a long form with lots of questions will significantly reduce the amount of information you receive.

Secondly, be aware that customers are much more likely to submit feedback forms when they are unhappy or have a complaint than when they are satisfied.

You can offset this tendency by asking everyone to take the survey at the end of their interaction. This will increase compliance and give you a broader range of customer experiences, which will help as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

8. Track Cost Effectiveness

This is a great metric to have, especially if your employees have some discretion over their budgets. You can track how much each person spends and how they spend it against their productivity.

Again, this one is easy to plug into the equation: Productivity = amount of money brought in ÷ amount of money spent.

Having this information is very useful in forecasting expenses and estimating budgets.

9. Use Self-Evaluations

Asking your staff to do self evaluations can be a win-win for everyone. Studies have shown that when employees feel that they are involved and their input is taken seriously, morale improves. And as we all know, high employee morale translates into higher productivity.

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Using self-evaluations is also a good way to make sure that the employees and employers goals are in alignment.

10. Monitor Time Management

This is the number one killer of productivity in the workplace. Time spent browsing the internet, playing games, checking email, and making personal calls all contribute to lower productivity[1].

Time Management Tips to Improve Productivity

    The trick is to limit these activities without becoming overbearing and affecting morale. Studies have shown that most people will adhere to rules that they feel are fair and applied to everyone equally.

    While ideally, we may think that none of these activities should be done on company time, employees will almost certainly have a different opinion. From a productivity standpoint, it is best to have policies and rules that are seen as fair to both sides as you’re learning how to measure productivity.

    11. Analyze New Customer Acquisition

    We’ve all heard the phrase that “It’s more expensive to get a new customer than it is to keep an existing one.” And while that is very true, in order for your business to keep growing, you will need to continually add new customers.

    Knowing how to measure productivity via new customer acquisition will make sure that your marketing dollars are being spent in the most efficient way possible. This is another metric that’s easy to plug into the formula: Productivity = number of new customers ÷ amount of money spent to acquire those customers.

    For example, if you run any kind of advertising campaign, you can compare results and base your future spending accordingly.

    Let’s say that your total advertising budget is $3,000. You put $2,000 into television ads, $700 into radio ads, and $300 into print ads. When you track the results, you find that your television ad produced 50 new customers, your radio ad produced 15 new customers, and your print ad produced 9 new customers.

    Let’s plug those numbers into our equation. Television produced 50 new customers at a cost of $2,000 (50 ÷ 2000 = .025, or a productivity rate of 2.5%). The radio ads produced 15 new customers and cost $700 (15 ÷ 700 = .022, or a 2.2% productivity rate). Print ads brought in 9 new customers and cost $300 (9 ÷ 300 = .03, or a 3% return on productivity).

    From this analysis, it is clear that you would be getting the biggest bang for your advertising dollar using print ads.

    12. Utilize Peer Feedback

    This is especially useful when people who work in teams or groups. While self-assessments can be very useful, the average person is notoriously bad at assessing their own abilities.

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    Just ask a room full of people how many consider themselves to be an above average driver and you’ll see 70% of the hands go up[2]! Now we clearly know that in reality about 25% of drivers are below average, 25% are above average, and 50% are average.

    Are all these people lying? No, they just don’t have an accurate assessment of their own abilities.

    It’s the same in the workplace. Using peer feedback will often provide a more accurate assessment of a person’s ability than a self-assessment would.

    13. Encourage Innovation and Don’t Penalize Failure

    When it comes to productivity, encouraging employee input and adopting their ideas can be a great way to boost productivity. Just make sure that any changes you adopt translate into higher productivity.

    Let’s say that someone comes to you requesting an entertainment budget so that they can take potential customers golfing or out to dinner. By utilizing simple productivity metrics, you can easily produce a cost benefit analysis and either expand the program to the rest of the sales team, or terminate it completely.

    Either way, you have gained valuable knowledge and boosted morale by including employees in the decision-making process.

    14. Use an External Evaluator

    Using an external evaluator is the pinnacle of objective evaluations. Firms that provide professional evaluations use highly trained personnel that even specialize in specific industries.

    They will design a complete analysis of your business’ productivity level. In their final report, they will offer suggestions and recommendations on how to improve productivity.

    While the benefits of a professional evaluation are many, their costs make them prohibitive for most businesses.

    Final Thoughts

    These are just a few of the things you can do when learning how to measure productivity. Some may work for your particular situation, and some may not.

    The most important thing to remember when deciding how to track productivity is to choose a method consistent with your goals. Once you’ve decided on that, it’s just a matter of continuously monitoring your progress, making minor adjustments, and analyzing the results of those adjustments.

    The business world is changing fast, and having the right tools to track and monitor your productivity can give you the edge over your competition.

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    Featured photo credit: William Iven via unsplash.com

    Reference

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