The Top 10 Characteristics of a Successful Networker
In a recent survey of more than 2000 people, conducted by Ivan Misner, founder of Business Networks International, the top 10 traits of a master networker were identified. This was not a scientific study, but merely a “vote” of what were the most highly valued characteristics in business to business networking relationships.
As Dr. Misner explains, it’s more about social capital than about business card exchanges, and more analogous to farming than hunting. In other words, it may take time and establishment of trust before solid relationships are formed. The investment up-front may be costly, but will be well worth it in the long term.
In reverse order, the survey highlighted the following as the most important factors, with #1 being least important to #10 most important:
- Working the network. Master networkers don’t let any opportunity pass them by. They are organized and set appointments to meet with their partners, knowing that the time spent will prove beneficial.
- Sincerity of interest. Your network partners will perceive insincerity if you don’t give total undivided attention to them during meetings. It will also greatly speed up the time it takes to develop the skill of making good referrals.
- Enjoy helping others. Master networkers have a sense of satisfaction from providing high quality referrals to their partners.
- Grattitude. This is sorely lacking in today’s environment. Master networkers go above and beyond in thanking others.
- Network always. They are never off duty and can be found networking everywhere, including grocery store, Dr.’s office, etc.
- Listening. Similar to #2, master networkers have excellent listening skills and quickly learn about their partners, so that they become effective as quickly as possible.
- Trustworthy. When referring others, there must be a complete trust that the referral will be well taken care of. It will diminish your own value if a partner fails to perform adequately.
- Enthusiasm. The best sales characteristic is enthusiasm. The most enthusiastic people get the most referrals usually.
- Consistently positive attitude. People want to associate with you and network with you, if you are positive consistently.
- Following up on referrals. This is the number 1 trait of successful networkers. Eventually you will stop wasting your time with referrals if a partner fails to follow-up with your referrals and makes you look bad.
The key to networking is to build mutually beneficial relationships with your networking partners. This is why BNI groups often are formed around core power teams that continually refer business to each other. Examples include the power team of realtor, mortgage lender, settlement attorney, and various home-related service technicians. Your success in networking will be determined by your ability to exude the 10 characteristics of a power networker and to connect with the most mutually beneficial partnerships.