5 Ways to Encourage Employees to Network

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Why Your Networking Efforts Won't Succeed Until Everyone in the Company Takes Part

“So, I recently started my own business and have a staff of five people. How do I get each of them to buy into networking as a way to grow the business?” It's the type of question referral networking expert, Ivan Misner, gets asked often. He recently shared an answer:

“Building word-of-mouth for your business,” Misner says, “is not just the responsibility of the entrepreneur, or his marketing or sales department. As you might imagine, it's far better to engage your entire staff in your word-of-mouth marketing campaign—not only at startup, but throughout the life of your business.”

Some tips Misner shared on how to engage your staff in networking:

1. Include networking in the job description for each and every employee. Often, if a new hire knows upfront that he's expected to incorporate networking into his job, it will happen.

2. Have clear and reasonable expectations. Setting goals is good - reaching them is even better. Know what you’re trying to do and when to celebrate.

3. Teach your staff how to network effectively for the company. Hold focus groups where you role-play, and bring in local networking experts for in-house trainings.

4. Motivate your staff to bring referrals to the company. My wife worked for a business that incorporated bonuses into her word-of-mouth marketing expectations. For every new customer, she was given a bonus.

5. Let your staff sees you practicing your networking skills. Often, owners don't share the amount of time and energy they put into building and maintaining our businesses utilizing word-of-mouth marketing. I have always felt very strongly about this point.

“Networking is a group activity,” says Misner, “make sure to get your whole team on board with the process.”

BNI (http://www.bni.com) is a referral networking organization, which at last count had over 3,600 individual chapters in 22 countries worldwide. BNI’s Founder & CEO, Dr. Ivan Misner is the author of several book’s including the NY Times best-seller, Masters of Networking, (http://www.MastersofNetworking.com) and the recently released #1 best-seller, Masters of Success (http://www.MastersofSuccess.biz)


Michael Drew




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