Utilize Your Connections

You’re wasting your time networking with total strangers.

My friend who works as a consultant recently expressed her exhaustion, saying, “I’m doing 2-3 networking events a week.”

“One of my marketing goals is to do at least 1 networking event a week,” she said in response to my question about why she thought networking was vital.

(It should be noted that she recently acknowledged doing 2-3 times a week; it’s possible that achieving that objective three times a week is contributing to part of her weariness.)

However, the widely held belief in American business about networking is far from real.

Myth 1: Your networking efforts become more successful the more people you connect with.

The first truth is that building a solid reputation in one or two circles is far more crucial than distributing your networking efforts across numerous organizations.

Breadth is never superior to depth.

Next, I wanted to know how she was finding networking.

“I don’t think I have gotten a shred of business out of it in the last six months,” the woman remarked.

“Everyone knows that you build a business by networking,” was her justification for participating in networking.

Does any of this make sense?

Or, worst of all, does it sound like you?

Check to see whether you’ve encountered this networking situation:

For thirty seconds, you meet someone.

While you are tuning them out, they whisper something about real estate.

When they inquire about what you do, you respond that you have insurance.

You both turn to the celery sticks since you have nothing better to do after staring at each other for ten seconds without making any sense.

Myth 2: The small wiener circuit and cocktails are the keys to successful networking

Truth 2: Meeting people in a bar and proposing is a pretty similar approach to building a business network.

As Dr. Phil put it, “It just ain’t going to happen that way.”

You won’t meet your soul match in business at a networking event for the following reasons:

After spending a few minutes getting to know someone and receiving a shoddy-printed card, you are not going to do business with them.

No matter how captivating and successful, “30-second commercials” are not the foundation of a successful business; relationships are.

The majority of us struggle greatly to articulate what we do, much less look past that explanation and pay attention to what potential customers require.

In actuality, networking with strangers is wholly arbitrary and neither targeted nor specific.

The least successful marketing tactic available is cold phoning, and for some people, networking works just as well.

Do I now suggest that networking is a time waster?

Not at all.

I’m trying to convey that you should start using networking more wisely.

Here are some ideas to get you thinking:

Have a one-on-one coffee or lunch with folks to build your network.

Learn about them and their company.

They might develop into a lead, an ally, or a source of recommendations.

But make friends with them first and foremost.

Set a goal to meet two or three fascinating people for coffee or lunch if you’re going to network with strangers.

Request one recommendation from each satisfied client you have (I mean, they’re all satisfied, right?) of someone who would be interested in your kind of product or service, then give them your number and give it to them.

“Hello, I’m Fred, and Ginger advised me to give you a call.

Isn’t ginger wonderful?

Ginger is the one thing you already have in common!

Make a list of the precise organizations you wish to network with on your network, such as IT managers at medium-sized businesses if you offer software.

Create the list and store it in your PDA or small black book.

Concentrate solely on those individuals, or those who can introduce you to them, in your networking and outreach endeavors.

Participate in non-business activities and join groups that aren’t about business.

There are countless civic, social, religious, recreational, musical, and sports groups to join.

Build ties with the individuals in your group.

Maybe you work as a realtor and a moose.

It turns out that one Moose wants to buy a house from another.

If so, you’re winning the Moose Market!

Do you like to drum by hand? What do you think?

A hand drummer would want to work with fellow hand drummers.

Do you understand?

Go to a “mixer” with a specific objective in mind if you decide to go.

“To meet three people on my target list and get their card so I can follow up for breakfast, lunch, coffee, or badminton,” for instance, may be one of your goals.

A conventional “networking event” is no longer a goal in and of itself; rather, it is now only the beginning of your intended strategy for gaining worldwide dominance.

Finally, to help you rethink your approach to networking, consider this:

Make connections with people who have already worked with you, liked you, or known you.

Myth 3: The goal of networking is to spread your knowledge to as many individuals as possible.

Verdict 3: The main goal of networking is to persuade others who already know you about chances that you can both benefit from.

Make two to three phone calls a day to stay in touch with people you once worked with, former clients, or significant others who once showed interest in you.

Everybody has a “fan base” that they blatantly underuse.

Consider reaching out to mentors, family members, coworkers, and friends in order to take advantage of the networks you already have.

Thus, go out there and network, but make the effort and time worthwhile by networking wisely.

Remember your mother’s advice: “Don’t network with strangers.”

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