It’s about the Relationships: Networking, whether you are on a social media platform or at an “in person venue” should always be about building relationships! Strategic alliances and business will follow. I say this every month at The Enchanted Woman monthly networking luncheon, and as I walk about the room, I still hear many of the guests introducing themselves in that “get clients now” kind of way.
Gone are the days of “working the room,” shoving a business card or flyers in someone’s face, and gathering business cards for your personal gain. As the founder of a network, I still see this. I also see how most people respond. Likewise, I have been told by the more accomplished networkers that those cards go into their “yeah, no” or “thanks for the warning” stack. So, while VERY few people would say something out loud, most people are put off by this aggressive behavior . . . DON’T DO IT!
Value your connections: People by nature are social animals. We like to connect. We want to be respected and valued. We want to be “seen,” and we NEVER want to be treated as though we are a means to an end or a wallet.
The wisdom of Practical Pig: Do you remember the story of the 3 pigs? Two of them built their houses quickly: one with straw, the other from sticks. When the big bad wolf came along, he huffed and he puffed and he blew their houses down.
As the two pigs built their quick rise structures, Practical Pig commenced to build a house of brick and stone. The other two pigs laughed because they were done long before he even finished his foundation. But, they didn’t laugh when his house was the only one left standing; when his was the only one that could withstand the test of time, and all seasons.
Unfortunately/Fortunately: Yes! This type of networking DOES take more time. But, it also builds a quality network; one that will serve you for a lifetime. The “poach a group to get immediate clients” approach might get you a sale or two, but it won’t get you loyal, life-long clients/customers. It won’t get you strategic alliances, or referral partners, either. So, if you want to build a quality network where people return to do business with you, refer you to their family and friends, and most importantly where you value each other, and build friendship, then you are going to have to invest the time upfront to build the relationship, and trust.
The Practical Pig Formula for Networking:
- Network to build relationships
- Remember the Golden Rule: Treat people the way you want to be treated at a Networking event, whether online or in person
- Become a Member and attend regularly, whether visiting a social media platform or a networking group–as we see your avatar/face consistently, we feel more acquainted, and then confidence and trust grows
- Ask for the relationship, not the sale (when the time is right, you can talk referral and/or sales)
- Smile and be approachable
There you have it: The Practical Pig formula for networking. Now go and build an AMAZING network!