When I was first putting my thoughts together to share some networking tips, the first thing that came to mind was to talk about why Networking doesn’t work. When sharing the title with some of my colleagues they thought I was crazy since I am the Founder of a Networking Organization.
Many told me that with such a negative title I would just be hurting the growth of my Networking organization. I, on the hand thought the opposite; if I focus on why Networking doesn’t work and provide tips on how to make networking work, then people would be more prone to read the article and follow the tips. We will let you be the judge of this by providing your comments on the effect of this approach…
Anyhow, like with anything in life (and networking is no different) you get out what you put in. Many business owners and/or entrepreneurs put out great efforts to attend as many networking event and/or groups to increase (their output) the chances of acquiring more clients.
Here’s a typical scenario – Many people attend several networking events and/or join several groups with the mindset that I will…
- Hand out as many business cards as I possibly can
- Talk to as many people as I can
- Tell people all about how great my company, service, and product is
- Let them know how great my company’s approach is (since it doesn’t compare to any other in my industry)
- Then follow up in 2 to 3 days with an email and remind them of how great my company is, my services, and how I can save them lots of money (even if they do not need the service)
Are you still with me? Sounds familiar?
Now some seasoned networkers take it a step further and follow up with a phone call (what an innovative approach – of course am being sarcastic just to make a point) to set-up a one-one over lunch or coffee to continue telling people how great their company, product, approach, etc… is. You get the point!
Many people have the misconception that
Networking is all about giving people your card and telling them what you do, and why they should buy your service, right?
No, that is incorrect!
Networking is all about building relationship and serving people since they will Always do business (assuming all things being equal) with people they LIKE, TRUST, and CARE
Why networking Doesn’t work
Networking doesn’t work often times because people approach it in a selfish way. As shown in the scenario above, people are always in it for themselves and see how they (me, I am, I do, I can …) can GET more business rather than be of SERVICE to your new connection. Yes, rather than SERVE (help) your new connection!
Unless your new contact has an immediate, unmet need for the services you provide–– which rarely is the case — there’s likely little benefit to their connection with you.
This selfish mindset is the reason why your networking efforts are failing and not resulting in more business.
Now here’s the Networking Tip I originally want to share with you …
Change your Mindset – Stop networking and start serving & helping people you meet
Change the way you approach networking events and groups, do not look at them as “networking opportunities” to create more business for yourself but rather begin thinking of them as opportunities to serve people.
When connecting with people start thinking of ways you can provide them with a benefit or help them with a challenge they are facing. When following with people, share an e-book, article, or any other useful information within their industry that can be of benefit to them.
When attending networking events and/or joining groups go with the mindset that you will be connecting with people to help and serve them. Become a Networking C.O.P (Connector of People) – be genuinely interested in other people, ask them about their business, ask for their business cards, make mental notes about their interest, hobbies, etc.
Stop “Networking” and start “Serving” and helping people. The business will eventually follow.