I remember one of the most powerful things my father ever said to me was “a bad workman always blames his tools”.
I now look at myself first whenever something isn’t working and ask my self what could I do differently or do I need to learn to do this better.
Networking is the same. Most people know enough about networking to get them into trouble.
They know they need to go and they know they need to hand out business cards and tell people what they do, but then it stops there.
We have to think of networking like brushing our teeth.
We know we need to brush our teeth each day and twice a day to prevent issues. We don’t see the difference daily, but if we stop doing it regularly, then we know we will have health issues and a big bill to fix it.
If we enthusiastically brush our teeth for two days continuously without stopping and then don’t brush our teeth for the next year, we will still have an issue.
But isn’t this exactly how most people network? Things get desperate, or they remember they paid for a membership and decided to go. They go once don’t get results and don’t go again for another few months if at all.
How to make this work:
People tend to network in fits and starts and for different reasons depending on their employment status:
1 Small business owner- primarily they are looking for clients
2 CEO’s to be around people like them, help or to build personal contacts
3 Employees- because they are told to for clients or their next job
* there can be blends of the above
Therefore, the results people want from a networking event are different. The results are what ever you are looking for. We also need to recognise that our members are looking for different kinds of results.
There is no point just going to a networking group once or twice and expecting to get results. We need to go back to the same group time after time and “brush” those relationships. Build the protection that prevents the cavities.
If we only attend a networking event once we are by default most probably reverting to selling (or cold calling face to face ) not building relationships.
Sales experts have shown time and again that on the first occasion you can only expect to close 2 % (2 out of 100 people) who are in the market to buy from you on the first occasion.
If we look at how many people we meet on the average networking event, it is probably about 10. So what are the chances we will get anyone to buy from us ( or buy us)?
When we look at all our best relationships in life, they are never formed with just one or two meetings. It takes multiple meetings and conversations to build trust and goodwill.
We seem to forget or not realise all of the above the minute we join a networking group. It’s almost like we are expecting the group to get our clients for us or build our relationships for us.
What a good networking group will do is provide the forum for relationships to start and build, events, educational forums, etc. It is down to the individual to do turn up and do the work.
That’s is why it is called net-working, not net–sit or net -eat
Just like your profession, networking a is a skill and can be learned. Or should be if we want to maximize our time.
But whatever level we are willing to get involved in education. We need to stop blaming the networking groups for us not getting results. Let’s look at our selves first and ask “ are we brushing” the networking group is the “tool “ after all, and it’s us that are using it or choosing not to use it.