So, why is it that we need to Network? Again, I can only use myself and what I believe in as an example. As a natural networker, it is extremely difficult for me to understand how people don’t feel the need to network. Most of us use networking in some form or another on a daily basis.
Ha, got you there, didn’t I? Well, we do! Ladies, if someone asks you where you got the new dress that you are wearing and you tell them where to go – you have networked. You have recommended that someone go to a specific place in order to purchase a specific item. That is a referral and referrals are part of networking. Gents, if you are telling your buddy about the new golf course that you played on over the weekend and suggest that they play a game there because it was fabulous (ok, so maybe you did not use the fabulous word), you have networked. You have recommended that someone go to a specific place in order to purchase a specific item. Again that is a referral and referrals are part of networking!
So why is it so difficult to do it in the business arena, specifically when it is our own business? Who knows!
Anyway, today that is not the question on the table. The question is “Why do we need to network”. Well, I suppose, strictly speaking, we don’t. We could go the really hard route and do the cold calling thing and knock on doors or try and book appointments with CEOs and Directors of Companies by sweet-talking or bribing the dragons called PA’s that protect their Lord and Masters from members of the General Public.
Networking is about taking our passion, together with our personal profiles or our own individual Branding, and getting it out there, visible so that people will refer others who need our services, products, or whatever. Understand that this will not happen for very long if you cannot and do not deliver. So your credibility has to be strong and your branding has to be clear in order for you to stand out from the crowd.
My take on this is that Business needs to be fun, and me trudging around the planet having one door after another slammed in my face, because they have never heard of me, is not my idea of fun!
So I choose to Network. I choose to meet with people who are of the same mind as me. People who want to do business, who can make a decision, and who know what they want and are prepared to go after it. People who make things happen rather than wonder, what the hell happened?
Going to networking meetings organizes and structures this and makes the experience all the less painful – particularly if the meeting is facilitated or even partially facilitated. For one thing, there is no hidden agenda, we are all there to do business.
Make no mistake, networking is still hard work, but the bottom line is that you have a foot in the door. That is what a referral or lead is. . a foot in the door, now it is up to you, the individual. What are you going to do with your foot that is in the door?
Many people do not like to network because of their own misguided perceptions. I constantly hear “I never get any leads” (don’t forget to put the whiny voice in when you say these words) or “They’re a waste of time”.
Well, that is because the person, who usually utters these statements, has sat in the meeting like a lump of lard and expected relationships to build themselves, or referrals and leads to fall out of the sky like manna from heaven, or to claw it’s way up out of the earth specifically to land as a contract in their laps! To them I say – get real!
Networking is about meeting the right people quickly and effortlessly so that the business of relationship building can happen quickly so that business can be referred and deals can be struck and money can be made.
So, do you still think that there is no reason for you to Network?
I will continue this saga next time, with some great tips to Network with.