There’s little doubt that networking – in-person and online – is critical to business success. The saying “It’s not what you know, but who you know” can still hold true and opens doors for many. With the interwebs, networking has been taken beyond the walls of a conference room or reception, and valuable connections are made with people all over the world.
While most understand the importance of networking, many do not properly capitalize on the opportunities that exist. This results in people thinking that their networking is not working.
Truth is, if your networking isn’t working, it may be your understanding of “networking” that’s the issue. Networking is about connections, and if things go well, perhaps an opportunity to build a relationship. Networking is not straight solicitation or sales, and shouldn’t feel like pressure. It may result in sales or a boost for your business, but when you’re in a networking environment, it’s not really about you. It’s about the relationship and your potential customer or the referral that may come from that person you connect with and/or meet.
The next time you’re at a networking event, make it a point to serve and share, not sell. Find out what your prospective client may need. Is it a referral? A recommendation? Suggestions? Perhaps it will be an easy connection and it’s you they’re desiring to connect with and need for their business! The same “serve and share” mentality will apply to social networking as well, via your blog, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Too much networking, which can be counterproductive and can result in the type of “not working” that means you’re not actually getting any type of work done, is also not good. However, when it seems like your networking efforts are not producing results, you may not be properly working at your desire to connect, serve and share.
What is your favorite networking experience? Any networking tips to share?