Many readers recognize the power of effective networking as a key business strategy, especially those directly involved in growing the business. But, if you fall into the trap of networking out of habit, driven by some outdated mindsets, you might be networking like an ineffective amateur. And, ‘if you always do what you’ve always done, you’ll always get what you always got’.
Here are some simple reminders to help you challenge your networking habits … and consider changing some of them that may not work any more.
- Networking isn’t selling. It isn’t even marketing. It’s just networking – “the exchange of information, ideas and resources”, as John Naisbitt defined it in “Megatrends” three decades ago.
- Don’t mix networking, marketing or selling in the same interaction. Each strategy has a specific purpose and role to play.
- It’s not who you know – it’s who they know. If you’re networking to grow your business, don’t overlook people who could never buy from you. Realize that they can connect you with people who could be your clients.
- Networking isn’t a car pool or taking turns buying lunch. Don’t try to stay “even”. A one-sided networking relationship can be extremely meaningful as long as both people find value in it.
- Networking isn’t driven by guilt or obligation. You don’t help people because they already helped you and you “owe them one” or because you want them to “owe you one”. Help people because that’s the right thing to do without thinking of what’s in it for you. And ask for help without hesitation, guilt or shame.
- Realize that “givers gain”. The more you give to others, the more will ultimately come back to you.
As you can see, networking is really much more than a set of simple strategies and techniques. There is a karma-like philosophy driving the process. Networking pros recognize and embrace that philosophy as they harness the power of networking. So, challenge some of your potentially outdated habits and network like a pro!