You’ve heard the phrase, ‘it’s not what you know, but who you know’? Granting that there is credence in that idiom, the first step is learning where and how to get to know prospective customers or the people who can lead you to those prospects. That’s where networking comes in! There’s a plethora of social media platforms built for networking in today’s digital marketing world and this is an easy and efficient way to network. Plus, nothing beats personal face-to-face encounters that are made possible through industry conferences and events. But, do you ever wonder if you’re doing it right? There is a protocol to follow, and it does make a difference. I can tell you from my own experience, if you’re not doing it right, you could be un-friended, removed from groups, blocked, reported or any number of other social media actions. (Yes, I’ve done all those things to people who crossed the line in networking!) And if you’re doing it wrong at live events, you could be the “nuisance” that everyone wants to avoid.
A successful networker knows how to make people want to talk to them. Some of the best networking professionals I’ve ever known made the focus more about the person they were talking to instead of pointing to their own achievements and giving their own sales pitches. Successful networkers are generous to others rather than seeking what they can receive. People quickly figure out if you look at each encounter as a “what can you do for me?” moment. Not that everyone in this arena doesn’t have an agenda…but being too obvious about it can actually work against you, where genuinely caring about others is more likely to lead to reciprocity.