Networking Rule. Don’t Go For the Kiss too Soon.

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Want Networking Success? Focus On Connecting First.

Effective networking is not about collecting cards or trying to meet as many people as possible in 90 minutes. It’s about really connecting with people and developing the “Know, Like and Trust ” scenario so that giving or receiving referrals or business, becomes a natural outcome and not one that is forced or expected.

Why Are You in Such a Hurry?

I often hear people complain, saying “networking doesn’t work.” They go to countless networking and meet-up events and pass their business cards out like candy expecting somehow that every person will automatically want to know what they do and be interested in supporting them in their business.

It’s a little bit wacky don’t you think? If you think about it, this would be no different than a young man showing up at a party and expecting they would get a date with every girl there. What happened to getting to know them? Finding out about their work, hobbies, interests, or the common ground between you? This could include mutual friends and acquaintances, similar shared interests, background shared experiences and so on.

Don’t Go For the Kiss Too Soon!

Its’ also equally vital to find out if we even like this person. Most people will want to do business with people they either, know, like or trust. So often Networkers are in this huge hurry and shortcut the most important steps in the “getting to know you” process. They go right in to land the big kiss and try to seal the deal as it were, before they even know the person’s name.

This irrational behaviour would likely get someone a lot of disappointment and possibly a backlash like a slap in the face! Instead imagine it being like a slow dance, one move at a time, building the rapport first. Smile, make good eye contact, read the energy, have some meaningful conversation, be patient – maybe no kiss the first time you meet right? It’s worth the wait to know that you really want to help them with a good referral and vice versa for you.

Have Realistic Expectations. 

I can’t imagine how this misconception about networking ever began. Do we really expect a business card, or quick pitch on our service or product to inspire someone to immediately think of how they can buy what we have? No, It’s called connection and making a good first impression. I’ve made friends with complete strangers at networking events and those relationships become more familiar and comfortable over time and sometimes do result in a sale.  However it is never my expectation going in.

My only expectation is to focus on getting to know them and sharing as much as they want to learn about me. Sometimes there really is no connection or need for their service but I guarantee you that if I sincerely like the person I will probably go out of my way to see how I can help them if they ask for a referral. And they may refer their contacts to you too!!

Also if I refer my good friends to someone who may be a terrible realtor, graphic artist or computer person, then that reflects poorly on me. I may want to get some idea of their work – see some examples, read testimonials, or learn more about their business practices or specialties.

Every Meeting’s an Audition.

The most valuable gift we have to offer to the world is actually, ourselves. In a world where we are constantly reminded of all of the ways we are not good enough, we need to remind ourselves that actually, we are. We may be dedicated, successful, talented, important, passionate, generous, giving, soulful, entertaining, and inspiring and all we need to really do is to allow people to see the best side of us. Just like an audition – I may not get the role today but if I show the director or casting person the best of me – they will definitely remember me showing my best and doing that could mean a role that is perfect for me down the road. Let’s focus on scattering our amazingness on to every person we meet so that they want to be around us and perhaps help us in some way.

Network Everywhere You Go.

The 3 Foot rule is supposed to be about sales and making some connection and that is partly true. But it is also about leaving someone with a gift – which is a small piece of who you are and what you can give or do for them. You can help people open their minds, you can offer hope, you can show them a new perspective, teach them something they never knew and maybe make a new friend or find a new customer or team member. Next time you go out of your house, look around at all the people in the street, at the store, bus stop line, the drycleaner, the store cashier, etc. Every one has something they want more of. We just can’t assume anything.

A great book called the “Go Giver”, talks about five principles that govern success in sales; these principles also govern successful friendships and partnerships, marriages and families, and organizations large and small. This is because the laws that govern good salesmanship are the laws that govern good relationships. Selling is not at its core a business transaction; it is first and foremost the forging of a human connection.

Become Great at What You Do.

If your goal is to make a living through sales, then challenge yourself to set your sights higher. Regardless of what your particular product or service is, people are drawn to you (or not) because of how you make them feel. They don’t simply want to buy your product, they want to be uplifted, encouraged, changed in some way. Our purpose should be to thrive in our business as well as through our encounters with others – we want to enrich lives on every level, and in so doing, we enrich our own and the lives of everyone around us. The goal is not only to make a great living with our business but to create a great life!  We also want to create a great community, great friendships, great colleagues, great mentors and great experiences.

So Change Your Approach to Networking.

Apply what you have learned from above and be more than what you are today!  I guarantee that you will grow your business, your network, and your own personal image, by doing so!

About the author 

Deborah MacDonald

After almost 25 years as an entrepreneur, I continue to grow my business, my passive income streams and my wealth. And now I mentor others on their wealth journeys by teaching them how to fund their own freedom lifestyle.

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