In her cards on Networking Tips, Dr Renate Volpe says “Be generous with what you know. Circulate information. Connect people.”
I am often amazed at the absolute generosity of some people (Renate included) and then equally amazed at how some people will not share anything. The mind boggles – well mine does anyway!
Some people hold everything so close to themselves, they will not give out a lead or a referral, but are sure to be in the very front of the queue if they are sure to receive anything! Go figure!
Apart from the fact that there is an abundance of opportunity and work out there, they are so busy keeping everything close to themselves that they do not see what is right under their very noses – the abundance. They agonise and stress about every little thing and how people are trying to cheat them and the competition is stealing all of their ideas and business is sooo bad because . . . .(insert what you will here). Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? Yet if they had only opened their hands and their hearts and gave something back, they would receive hugely.
My late friend and colleague Kevin Foot always said that “you have to give to get”. I agree and have found that you actually don’t have to give too much in order to get a whole lot back.
Look, I don’t mean that you have to give the shirt off your back or give out your IP for nothing. Not at all! But put people in touch with one another. Give out referrals and leads. Invite your competition to a networking meeting with you – chances are that you will be able to work together on a big project that neither of you could manage to work on alone (now there’s a thought for you).
Share information – where the next networking meeting is, who is going to be there, opportunities that are not for you but you know someone who is dying to do that sort of thing.
When you are in front of a client or even a prospective client, who you are pitching to, listen to the needs of the client – it may be that the client not only has need of your services, but also the services of someone that you know. On the other hand, it may be that the client does not need your services at all, but has a need of someone that you know – imagine how impressed they will be when you say “I’m sorry I cannot help you with this, as it is not my field, however, I can recommend Jane Doe as this is exactly what she does.”
Not only will Jane Doe think you’re great and start looking out for work for you, but the client will also bear that in mind and when they do have work that you can do for them, you will be called in. That kind of generous behaviour tends to stick out in the minds of people.
This is the best value add that you can have.