I found this of great interest, since after all that's why we are here!
Tags: business, communication, networking, opportunity
What did you like most about the article?
Mine was the focus on "Follow up" - to me this is where both the relationship and the revenue have a chance to grow from.
Yes, The "follow up" is very important. In my experience, I see where this often fails. I like how the article said "networking is not easy and it takes commitment". I often wonder if I am wasting my time, but this will make me rethink my actions.
I like the idea of asking a non-traditional question. If I never hear anyone say "what do you do" again, it will still be too soon!
I liked page 2, but page 1 certainly complicated things more than he needed to. Someone new to networking might be completely turned off to the thought of networking after that first page! :)
IMO, networking really isn't rocket science. If you just be yourself, be respectful of others' space, listen more than talk, and smile, the rest really does fall into place. People aren't afraid of conversation, or even networking, they are afraid of being stuck with someone they want to get away from, or making the person they are talking to wish they could get away.
@Michelle - it's times like this that I wish we had a "comment LIKE" function :) 110% agree.
@Pat & @Michelle -
I think there is an important distinction missing. I would agree with Michelle's statement IF the goal of networking is simply to make friends and get people to like you. If your goal is to make money, you can be yourself, listen more than talking, and respect others' space, but it won't necessarily lead to generating any business. This is one of the biggest problems I see with networking: some people claim to be networking for business, but they really are there just to hang out and have fun. That is why "leads groups" don't work, at least in my opinion.
I tried the "be nice and the money will come" approach and found out the hard way that it doesn't pay the bills. I DON'T mean to suggest that this is what you're advocating--but I think that the distinction between real strategic business networking and purely social networking is something that needs to be made here. A lot of people seem not to know the difference, but the gap is as wide as the Grand Canyon.
I added a close-soapbox tag, but apparently this form doesn't like HTML :)
Use slashies next time. ;)
Once a newbie gets the hang of the concept of networking - which as I stated above, is really all it is - then they can move into a place of building contacts and referral sources. Networking isn't about closing a sale or getting your card into as many hands as possible. I've gotten tons of business from just being friendly and hanging out, specifically because a sale was the last thing on my mind. So when the people I spoke to needed me or knew someone who did, I'm the one they call, because they saw me as a person, rather than a sales rep with a data sheet.
Networking is like a first date. All you are doing is feeling things out and figuring out who you'd like to get to know better. From there, you talk/meet further to see if a relationship can be built (like a referral relationship or a collaborative one). If so, great. If not, perhaps you can connect each other to other people who better fit the bill.
If you are relying on networking to close the deal for you, that's never going to happen. Every now and again you'll run into someone at an event that has to hire you right now, but that's rare. When people treat networking as a sales event, and they don't sell anything, they are quick to write it off and blame the event or networking in general. The networking ain't to blame. ;)
I don't disagree with anything you said...the "business card ninja" approach does not lead anywhere good, but there are other important elements that are in play here. You got tons of business because you engaged appropriately with no thought of the sale, AND were offering a service that was in demand, at the right price to be competitive in the marketplace, AND you were ready with an effective and clear message when people approached you looking for help with something that matched your offerings, AND you networked with the right people (meaning they either had the money to hire you, knew people who did, or were willing to make the effort to help you find those people), AND you were confident in what you did as well as the value you provided. If you had failed to meet any of these conditions, the business would not have happened no matter how nice and polite you had been.
It sounds like you are basically saying, in essence, that meeting people socially is a viable strategy for generating clientele. Clearly that has worked for you...but I don't think it necessarily works this way for everyone. True, the networking ain't to blame--but improper positioning within the marketplace may be very much to blame. The meet-and-greet approach works fine if you are offering something that satisfies what people want, but if not, all the networking in the world--even if you do it 100% right--isn't going to lead to one nickel of business.
}; //note to self: pick up olive oil
Well, sometimes stars align, but I don't think your ANDS are always true...it's more of a yes AND no in my opinion...
I did a lot of networking with a service that wasn't remotely in demand for a long time before doing what I do now. But I believe one of the reasons I had such a wait list was because people knew who I was from times before.
Meeting the right people was more kismet than strategy...
I don't know that I would say that meeting people socially is a viable strategy, so much as I would say that it's much more beneficial to you than just straight advertising. I haven't yet gone to a networking event where I was approached by numerous people asking if I knew this kind of person, that kind of person...
Most of my clientele come months after meeting them...I believe in making good first impressions, that's all, and I just don't believe you have to have a 30-second commercial perfected in order to make that impression...
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