By Cyndee Paulson-Heer
All too often I hear entrepreneurs and business professionals say, “Networking doesn’t really work for me.” This statement perplexes me because I know the power of networking, from personal experience. So, I got curious. I started asking questions, and observing more closely.
I noticed that there are, primarily, two kinds of entrepreneurs and/or business
people. The 1st group values people first, transactions second. The other group values transaction or money first . . . and many of them, unfortunately, overlook the value of the human-being within the transaction itself. They see the person as a means to their transactional end.
As you may have guessed the base values of the individual drives the type of business and networking they do. Those who value people first, see the value of networking. They realize that it takes time to build community/network, credibility, and trust, which all work together to get referrals, form joint venture partnerships, and turn transactions.
Those who value the transaction or closing the sale as a higher value, on the other hand, seek instant gratification. They network to work a room, find a target, and make a sale. When they strike out they blame it on the event or networking itself.
That said, you might be thinking, Hey! I am a “people first” person, and I could get better results from my networking. To which I would say, consider the following 8 questions, and spend some time answering them:
- Do you understand why you network?
- Do you understand the entire process, from the prep state to the follow-up work?
- Do you allow time for relationships to develop, within the event, and outside?
- As a “people first” person, do you serve, give to, your community/network?
- Do you have a networking plan?
- Do you have a clear answer to the inevitable business networking question, “What do you do?
- Do you know what you need, and how to clearly ask for it, in terms of business development, and clients?
- Have you chosen 3 – 5 networking groups to attend?
- Do you attend them regularly?
- Are you “visible” at the meeting and other related events?
- Do you engage as a giver?
- Do you follow-up?
If you can clearly answer those 8 questions you know and appreciate the value of networking, and have likely built some amazing personal and professional friendships, too. Keep it up. You will Engage and Enrich your life, even more, through building a strong network.