How does one progress to the TRUST phase in a network relationship?
Getting referrals from fellow members is the ultimate goal of networking, so how does one reach this goal? It does take time and patience. There is no “quick fix”, there are, however some things that you can do to ensure the quickest transit.
The objective is to get to the “trust” part of the relationship, because before you have earned another’s trust, you will not receive quality referrals. We all know people and companies, we can pick up a Yellow Pages and know thousands of companies, we can Google all day to know thousands more, but we will never refer a friend to one of those, would we? The reason is that we have not yet developed a relationship of trust. From “knowing” a company or person, we then need to “like” them. We can speed up the “know” phase by ensuring that we are visible in the community. We can speed up the “like” phase by making eye contact, swapping business cards, shaking hands like you mean it and engaging in open ended conversation that stimulates your fellow networker to talk about themselves. Make yourself “likeable”, think what you would like someone to do for you in order for you to develop a liking for them…then do it.
- Smile – be friendly
- Engage in meaningful conversation – show interest
- Remember their name – show they are important
- Ask how you can help them in their business – show you care
The trust phase is only entered once there has been additional contact to prove one’s worth or that you are indeed a person of your word. What could you do to earn this trust? It doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to prove your worth at what you do, it’s proving your worth as who you are!
- Schedule a coffee catch-up with a fellow networker – and don’t sell to them! – show interest
- Confirm the appointment – show professionalism
- Be on time – show commitment
- Be at all your network meetings – show reliability
- If you say you will do something – do it – show you are who you say you are
- Try to find ways to help your fellow networkers – show your worth
The trust phase can take weeks or months to reach – one slip up and you are back to square one. Your fellow networkers are your key to their network. It’s a key that is well worth having!