Do you want to know how to get referrals from networking contacts? When you think about networking what goes through your mind? For many it’s networking events, where you have a breakfast or buffet lunch, meeting a range of people all keen to give you their business card. A recent frustrating experience of mine is a great example of what networking is not, so I thought I’d share it. I’d love to know what you think of it and how genuine you would have felt in my shoes. But first….
What is networking?
In my view, networking is about creating, maintaining and developing relationships to a mutual benefit.
Those relationships maybe from many places. Networking events are just ways to make some relationships; the key benefit from such events arise when one meets outside of the group.
Key rules of networking
To me there are a couple of key rules to make this work:
- Don’t just sell to the people in your network.
- Be genuine: if you’re interested in developing a relationship great, if not, don’t pretend.
What others would you add?
A networking strategy that works
Different relationships will naturally be more important than others, hence why I categorise contacts. “A-listers” are those people I’m most interested in, as our relationship produces most results of mutual benefit. I don’t have many of those, it takes time to maintain them and that implies focus. My A-listers are people that I probably do meet socially as well, but certainly we discuss things as friends.
The same principle applies to others in my networking circles (B and C listers), although we may not spend as much time together. To really benefit from this click on not all networking contacts are equal.
Today’s true story: How NOT to network.
I recently got an email from a contact that I’d not seen in a while that started:
I hope you’re well, we must catch up soon….
So far so good?
Well, other than we haven’t seen each other for more than a year, she obviously wasn’t really interested in us working together and I’m obviously so far down her radar that she spelt my name wrong.
Oh yes, then the next sentence asks me to pass her products details onto my contacts. After that she signs the email, “Kind Regards”….
Is it me? But it didn’t feel genuine and certainly did feel much more like an attempt to simply sell.
The story behind this article is a recent true story; I’d love to know what you think of it and how genuine you would have felt in my shoes. Or, more positively how do you use networking to develop relationship profitably?