I network for one purpose, referral sales. I have been in sales for nearly 20 years and prospecting is a very different ballgame then the Pre-LinkedIn years, let alone Pre-Internet. Building my network builds my potential client base, which builds my pipeline and that eventually reaches my wallet.
Relationships. There will be several reasons for networking; however, there needs to be a value placed on the time spent doing this. Don't waste other peoples' time, and don't waste your own time. Some of the best people to have in your corner, are your 1st and 2nd line managers in your current role. They can direct you to ensure you know what is needed now, and when you are able to accomplish those things for your current team, they will be great references for your future. Then, you need to gain understanding of where you want to go in an industry, or business, and start talking to people about that. I have been very surprised at how many times "Jim" will know "Mary" in "AreaX" - which is where I want to go someday, and will introduce you. "Mary" can tell you what she knows, and introduce you to managers, etc. in those areas - but most of the time you can research this yourself too. Look at "Mary's" upline and discuss who may be an appropriate person to talk to. Also, "Mary" may become a personal reference to get you in to that area some day. :-)
Networking is Relationship Development - that's the bottom line.
Here is a book on "Power Mentoring" that I have recommended to many people in business:
I have gotten some amazing ideas from talking with people while networking.
These ideas are taking my business to a new level.
Networking is not an easy thing for me but I do it because I know if I continue the process and I stay open, the ideas will keep coming! :}
As a longtime networker, I most value the personal friendships I've made over the years, several of which have led to freelance work. In the #2 spot is everything I've learned to become a better networker.
The most value is in building relationships and putting yourself there in peoples minds for the service that you have to offer. It is about building trust and contributing to others and being known that you are a contributor and can be relied upon to offer sound information, advice and news relevant to the persion you are forming or have formed a relationship with. I am currently writing a 4 part article on networking and some of these are now in the resources center of mosaicHub but all will be on my website. All information freely offered for anyone to use. Part four should be issued within the next few days.
Matt, networking is simply the exchange of ideas, information or resources. It's all about information. John Naisbitt first defined networking that way in 'MegaTrends' over 30 years ago:
* As a result of that shared information, we can learn some information to help us do our jobs better, faster, cheaper or smarter.
* We can also learn some information to help us grow our businesses or find new clients.
* Sometimes, that exchange of information can also lead to developing new mutually beneficial business relationships. However, those relationships are a bonus of the process, not its primary objective or intended outcome.
people network to grow there horizons in terms of both business and personal growth, but network alone isnt enough to grow you need to build it in a relationship which hold TRUST as a base, if you get trust in your networking your business will be on higher scale, as they say slow and steady wins the race.
Relationship building is the core fundamental in constructing a sound business. It takes at least five 'touches' before people can relate to you and your business and become engaged. It is important during this process not to 'sell' but develop a genuine interest in building a sustaining network. Listening and helping others connect is the true value of great networking. You will then start to see referrals from your network ecosystem.
People aren't usually rude, but I did once get thrown out of an office building by a gatekeeper when I tried to offer a free estimate on window cleaning.
I met the owner of the building later that week at a networking event.
You should have seen the look on that gatekeepers face when I showed up the following week with an appointment and the owner came hustling out to greet me.
Networking gets me past the gatekeepers...
Networking is a great way to get yourself in a the door of a possible job or new client. Developing relationships enable you to possibly get exposure to companies through friends. I also use networking to discounts on major purchases.
I also find that building relationships is vital to my business, which is also referral dependent. When I meet someone for the first time, I usually ask more questions than I answer. And I'm genuinely interested in what the person does. For many people at networking events, there is a high degree of discomfort, especially when everyone in the room seems to know each other and you don't. When they have the opportunity to share, they relax and will remember your interaction positively. Just make sure you don't spend the entire event talking to one person. And, of course, follow-up is vital.
This was an interesting question. My first thought was - when i go too a networking event its a waste of time. Everyone is actually after their own selfish interests in the nicest possible way. What i mean by that, is that they give you business card yet don't follow up.
I have had awesome networking events though and connections, I think its an artform and a science really. Most people are unaware of how too network effectively or authentically so as too ensure building relationships become a reality. Sometimes they are so in their head and not in their heart. If you go with no expectations except just too be authentically you, your business shines and your energy is up and you connect with the right people with a smile on your face. They will then want too do business with you.
If however your in your head, "got to network, got too network", how many business cards can I hand out today, or what can I get from you...................instead of being in your heart.
I am me, you are you. I am here too offer value and a lovely experience. I am here too give you a WOW experience and take you on a journey of authenticity step by step, then both people feel its a win/win.
It all starts with intention and how you approach a networking event.
As a former CEO of a global consulting firm, and now as an independent consultant, I can easily say that the majority of all the work that I have done has come out of personal relationships resulting from networking. People do business with people they like and trust. Don't be in a hurry to sell -- build relationships that create new opportunities.