Networking Success Secrets – Interview with Karin Gryder of AdzZoo
Karin began networking for her business in November 2009, trying out various groups including corporate-style networking organizations, events and stand-alone groups. She discovered Women’s Success Network (WSN) in the summer of 2010 and joined in October, leaving the other groups behind. “I found one that really works for me, with people who I trusted,” Karin says of WSN. “This group is so productive that I just fired all the rest.”
Finding the right group is important, particularly when networking time is limited. Karin wanted to find a networking home that would be able to sustain her business long-term, so she looked for a group with stability in its membership, and members who were knowledgeable about their own businesses and who interacted well with one another.
“There’s stability in the group,” she says of WSN. “And I like the format – how it’s structured. It is a business meeting, and we treat it as such.” She says that good leadership is key to the success of a networking group. “I’ve been to so many (other groups’) meetings where they get off-task,” she says. “It can be very frustrating.”
Karin wanted a group in which members were comfortable enough with one another to give and receive referrals regularly, and to respect each other’s time. “We’re there to do a job, which is to help one another,” Karin says. “I take it very seriously. My time is very precious to me.”
She also relies heavily on the one-on-one meetings she arranges outside of the regular networking meeting. “I’m a good reader of character,” she says. “You get so much more out of a one-on-one meeting than you can in the group. In that meeting, I focus on finding out about their background and whether I can trust (them).”
Since becoming a member of WSN, Karin has consistently referred high-quality leads and received such from other members. She says that the quality of leads requires good listening skills on her part, but also finding out who people are looking for, specifically.
Karin pays close attention to what people say in their one-minute presentations. “So many times you hear people say, ‘I can help anybody’,” she says. “We all could. But the more specific you can ask for, the better. It jogs their memory. If I say, ‘I’m looking for painters’, for example, that’s often all they need. Everyone knows a painter.”
Another area where Karin excels is in follow-up. “After I’ve met with someone, I call the person who referred them and tell them we have met, and I thank them for the referral.” On the off-chance that she meets with someone who is not a “good fit,” she looks for the reason why. “Sometimes it’s because I haven’t been specific enough, so I’ll go back and change the way I say it,” she says.
Since consistent attendance is such an important part of the networking experience, Karin says she looks for someone who is professional and driven to substitute when she can’t be there herself. Ideally, she says, she would prefer to have an AdzZoo colleague represent her in her absence, but sometimes that just isn’t possible. “I always look for someone I can trust to be there on time and to professionally represent me and their own company,” she says.
Karin has enjoyed great success with her networking experience by treating it as a fundamental part of her business. The essential components of her networking group are the same ones we look for in any successful organization: stability, strong relationships and a commitment to professionalism.
Women’s Success Network is a closed-contact networking organization that meets every Wednesday at 7 a.m. in Roswell, Georgia. For more information about the group, please add your comments at the end of this blog. We’ll be happy to get back to you.