Networking is probably one of the most misunderstood and underrated skills. Some people think it’s just about mingling and some people think it’s
about getting a chance to get in front of someone they can sell to. But this completely wrong and the latter is extremely counter productive.
Done the correct way networking is probably the most crucial and profitable skill you can learn. And it doesn’t matter if you do it for the purpose of doing business or to get a job. It’s simply one of the most effective ways to get what you want.. period.
Why? Because people like to buy from and do business with people they like, know and trust. Today your network is more important than ever and the bigger your network is growing the more your NET WORTH will grow.
In the last few years having a big network has even become more necessary and valuable. The reason is that when someone is considering to hire of do business with a person, they will try to find them on Facebook or LinkedIn. If the person only have 22 friends, most people will assume that they are not that liked. If they are non-existent online you might even come to the conclusion that they are doing something unethical.
For example a while ago a friend presented me with an investment opportunity and I immediately went to Facebook and LinkedIn to try to find the people listed as the founders and management. There were no trace of any of them so I quickly concluded that it was a scam. I might have been wrong, but that’s not the point.. the point is that this is how most people operate today.
So having a big network today has become a huge asset and it has become a one of the main ways people measure your worth and credibility. This way of determining your “value” will soon become completely standard and people without a visible big network will be considered weird loners, that don’t want to connect with the world. And who wants to be connected with someone that has no interest in being connected?
So hopefully by now you understand the necessity and value of building a large network. So lets look at some of the mistakes people make over and over again that keeps them from succeeding with networking. In this article we are going to explore just three of these errors.
1) The first is lack of Preparation. To get the full benefit of networking you need to be prepared in two areas.
a) You should do extensive research on the people you are trying to connect with before you even try to
contact them. When you know something about people it’s a lot easier to find things you have in common and use that as a starting point in a conversation.
When I go to networking event I estimate that only 1 in 20 people do research on the key people at the event. Today most networking events will list their attendees and it’s so easy to do research on people. So there is really no excuse not to do it.
b) Prepare and practice your pitch till you can do it in your sleep. Most people only have a vague idea about what they are going to say when people ask what they do. So when someone ask them, their pitch will be delivered with a lot of ah’s and uhm’s and that means they will come across as either lacking confidence or being unprofessional. So practice your pitch until you can do it backwards in your sleep.
2) The second error is trying to “sell” immediately. Trying to sell before you have developed trust and relationship is usually detrimental to your sales. People have to buy YOU before they even want to think about buying ANYHING from you. So please forget about selling for now… other than yourself and the relationship.
3) The 3rd error is lack of consistency and follow up. Consistency is absolutely crucial. Most people think somewhat along these lines: “Nobody wanted to buy from me at that group so I’m not going back… I’ll go to another networking group instead.”
I’ve tried to come up with a nice way to say what I really think about this type of approach, but I’ve given up because it’s simply moronic.
If you think you are going to sell or “close the deal” the first time you meet someone you have completely misunderstood the purpose of networking. Networking is about creating trust and building relationships and trust takes time. I will usually not start to get some real results until after I’ve met someone three times. Constantly jumping around between different groups is not going to help you create those powerful relationships you are looking for.
My final advice for now is: Initially forget about doing business… forget about trying to impress… instead find ways to be of value, find ways to be a friend and show how impressed you are with THEM. If you just do these few things you will be ahead of the competition.
Happy networking – Patrick M. Powers
Patrick Powers, is an expert on direct response copywriting, pitching and networking, author of 3 highly acclaimed business books among other” Turn Your contact into cash”. He is also founder of www.entrepreneursinlondon.co.uk a community of entrepreneurs that offers regular networking and training events. To connect with Patrick find him at www.patrickmpowers.com