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Networking 101 – Networking equals ACTION

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How many of us, in the past, have gone to networking events, where we have religiously handed out handfuls of business cards and received fistfuls of business cards in return? We’ve promised to contact the numerous people who have given us their cards, in order to “do something together” and then when we have gotten home, the cards are dumped on the desk or very diligently filed in the Rolodex and in some extreme cases even trashed?

So come on, be honest now – how many of us? I know that I am guilty of this – in the past! Not now, you can be sure of that, definitely not now.

You see I have come to realize the value of a business card! For me, every business card is an opportunity! It doesn’t matter where you got that card, at the supermarket, in the pub, at a networking event – anywhere!

In my business, next to my IP, my database is my biggest asset and I treat it with respect. It houses my large collection of contacts (from business cards that I have collected) and with that comes my own “circle of influence”.

Here are the people (not just contacts – they are living breathing human beings who should be treated with respect), who add value to my business because here are the people that I will recommend in terms of the services that they provide and the product that they sell. They make me look good to potential clients.

These are also the people who refer work to me – now that deserves even more respect, don’t you think? These are the people with who I interact with on a daily basis and who I choose to surround myself with.

Napoleon Hill in his book, Think and Grow Rich, says “Men take on the nature and the habits and the POWER OF THOUGHT of those with whom they associate in a spirit of sympathy and harmony”.

The people that I associate myself with and who I choose to interact with on a daily basis are the very people whose names and contact details I have found on a business card. They are (hopefully) people who are “like-minded” to me. They are people who are entrepreneurs and SMME’s and service providers, who are serious about doing business, who are hungry for new business, who want to grow their businesses and who are passionate about their businesses, themselves and what they do – these are the people that I want to be around, don’t you?

So when you get home, with your fistful of business cards, do something with them, contact those people – set up appointments with them, start building relationships with the people who you want to be in your “circle of influence”, your database and who will become your “value add”.

I hope this means that you are looking at the Business Card in your hand in a completely different light now – you are, aren’t you?