Building a network in business will take your companies along many paths to success.  

But what are the key components if you want to network effectively?

Everybody does it everyday – no matter where we are – where we live, how old we are.  And let me say this again because it is that important:  anyone that you meet is a connection.   And even if they are not going to get you business, or be a direct client, they talk, and your goal is to ensure that you will leave enough of an impression on them that they may think of you in the future, or refer you to someone else.  

Just watch one of your kids network at school –  forming relationships without any effort at all.  They make it seem so easy.  And do you know why?

KIDS DO NOT PREJUDGE OTHERS.

What adults tend to do, most of us anyway, will spot the negative things about the person first.   Making the choice to prejudge someone – whether intentional or not, can be a kiss of death when networking and going after those sales.  

Think about the last time that met someone for the first time….What do you notice first about that person?   Do you find that those first "judgments" or first evaluations are a good point of reference for the amount of value a person may have?   I am going to go out on a limb here and say that these early evaluations are not always indicators or someone's value, worth or experience.  Yes, we are told that we need to dress professionally, and speak professionally and conduct ourselves in a certain manner, but we need to police ourselves so that we do not allow these "pre-judgments" to cloud any opportunities to link up with someone who could bring us business, or be a vital networking connection.

Our society, myself included, may unintentionally notice the negative qualities first, instead of starting with the positive ones.

PRE-JUDGING OTHERS IN SALES WILL RESULT IN MISSED OPPORTUNITIES, AND WILL IMPACT YOUR SALES CAREER SEVERELY.

Once again, whether or not you are intentionally doing this in your networking process doesn't matter.  What does matter is that you change this behavior and "train" yourself to look for the "diamond in the ruff", so to speak.  

You need to challenge yourself to look at the person in a different light – beyond the surface to find what attributes they have that could ultimately lead to a successful and profitable business relationship.

Another way around this pre-judgment is to make sure that you ask this person a lot of questions, which will give you further insight into who they really are – their level of knowledge, their personalities, etc.  

Keeping an open mind is networking is more important than most would give it credit for.  Look back on any given day and I'll bet you could remember at least one person that you have come in contact with throughout the day who did not possess one.  

Once you close you mind to something, it's difficult to go the other way, so be sure that you take steps to prevent this from occurring in YOUR networking and sales process. 

Approach your networking with openness and the expectation and excitement of the unknown.

Remember: You don’t know what you don’t know. The next person you speak with may just give you the next big deal.  Changing your mindset  opens you up to greater possibilities of networking success and keeps your mind on a positive energy, rather than a negative one.  

What you say to others is going to be a reflection of who they think you are.  You do not have to have the most expensive suit, but you do have to convey who you are to others in your conversations, just as they are going to do for you.   Give people the chance, just as you would like one, to show you who they are, and then you can determine, now based on a better scope of information, if this person is going to "fit", or not.  Taking the time to do this will keep your networking process open, and challenge you to perfect your own skills on asking the right questions, and engaging the right conversations that will get you the information you need to make appropriate determinations and decisions.

Sell Strong…Sell Hard…And always keep an open mind…