Who does business with someone that they don’t like or trust or respect? Na-ah – not me hey!
That’s the bottom line and for me, this is what Networking is all about – getting to know like-minded people, building trust and respect and, developing relationships.
To approach the whole Networking event from a logical and professional manner, firstly you have to set your intent. So, why are you going to the meeting or event? What do you hope to achieve? Who do you want to meet (what type of people, in which industry etc.)?
Next of course, you need to put an action up against that intention – so you actually have to get up off your rear end and go to the meeting or event. You need to meet with the kind of people that you intended to meet. You have to meet your requirements, in terms of what you wanted to achieve and in order to do this you need to remain focused and not get sidetracked. By the time you leave the meeting or event, you should feel like you have achieved your intention.
Finally, and this is the most important – you have to follow up. It is considered a “Networking crime” to go to a meeting or event, meeting your objectives and then not follow up. Quite frankly, in my opinion, it is an absolute waste of everybody’s time and energy.
Rule of thumb is that you should contact everybody who has given you a card, within 48 hours of meeting them. If you attend Networking meetings or events several times a month, then it may be in your own best interests to get yourself a business card scanner as this will save you valuable time when capturing your networking contacts.
For me, Networking and all the referrals that it brings me, is the lifeblood of my business – without it there would be no business.
So I treat Networking in the same way that I treat life – establishing relationships, growing relationships and of course, retaining relationships.