Now I am sure that you all know that you need to network. It is vital to ourselves as individuals and it is vital to our businesses to network. So why is it that so few of us network successfully?
One of the biggest challenges in my opinion, is that not everybody understands the most basic but vital rules about networking. Knowing these could help you to unlock a huge amount of opportunities, give you new ideas and help you to nurture new business friendships and relationships.
Many people feel that they invest a great deal of time, effort and even money to network. That said they don’t see any results and are left frustrated and annoyed at what their perception of no “end results”. To them I say, you are not networking correctly! Change your tactics, change your mindset and you will see a huge improvement in your leads and your business will grow.
Networking is not about giving out your business cards to all and sundry. What does that mean? Look at what you do with business cards – chances are that if you have gone to a meeting or even out for an evening with a whole bunch of people and several have just given you their cards (often without you even asking for one), you will turf that card as soon as you get home. Well they are probably doing the same thing!
Networking is about building relationships. Relationships that are mutually beneficial, that are sustained and worked at. Relationships that will, over time will give you returns on your investment (which is the time that you have spent working on those relationships).
Attending a few networking meetings and handing your card out to a few dozen people is not going to do it. You have to meet up with those people, have a discussion, get to know them and what it is that they do – start a business relationship and then work at maintaining that relationship.
Networking for me is a foot in the door – it’s a fast way to meet people, especially like minded people who are as passionate about their business as I am about mine.