Networking is not a numbers game. It’s a quality game.
Yes, you need to help a lot of people to get the amount of referrals that will sustain your business without advertising, but you are doing more harm to yourself than good with this mindset.
You need to think about the quality of conversation, not the number of conversations you have each week.
Remember back to that last conference you attended or networking meeting. Think about the people you remember and are willing to open an email or take a call from them.
It’s the people that left an impression on you that you give your time to. Maybe they had a great story or they asked amazing questions.
Whatever it was that stuck with you, that’s the type of of networking you need to be emulating.
We talked about the key concepts of networking at Tuesday’s (2pm ET) #mktgchat. I brought in the amazing Stacy Stone of Ethical Launch. We dug in, dug deep and came away with some really solid networking ideas for your business.
A lot of people feel weird about networking because they don’t create the right mindset. You need to look at networking as a way of sharing your superpowers. You do this by asking great questions, finding their pain points and seeing how you can help them.
It’s about connecting instead of pushing yourself on to them.
Everyone struggles with networking.
No one has it easy. Even the “A” players struggle with how to filter out the losers that are just trying to use them instead of giving mutual value.
Don’t worry about how hard it is to network, instead focusing on creating a system that works for you. Maybe every M, W, F you send out emails from 9am – 10am and make calls from 10am – 11am. I’ve actually implemented this system for a few weeks now and because I’m staying consistent with it I’m seeing results.
Jason Freedman talks about why his first business failed:
“My problem was that I wasn’t surrounded by a community that could help me succeed.” Jason Freedman
You have to figure out what works best for you, keep improving your system and never give up because your network will determine how successful you will become.
Pressure can often throw us off our networking game. We think we need to press a little to get a sale or develop a friendship. This is one of the worst mindsets to have when trying to build a relationship.
You need to focus on listening and allowing the relationship to develop as appropriate. This just takes time and some people won’t be ready to trust you for months or even years. That’s why a frugal business can whether the ebb and flows of referrals that come in or don’t come in.
When you are trying to build relationships with people you can’t ever think that you are bothering them. I know that it’s hard not to feel this way, but you have to believe that you can help them.
I think the key takeaway from this string of conversation is knowing what you do well, and figuring out if the bigger player that you want to build a relationship with can use your expertise. That may mean asking them what they need help with. For my own business I like to keep track of people’s launches. If I know they have a new product or a re-release of a product then I send an email and gently remind them how much I can help them.
You can never bully your way into a relationship, so it’s best to keep reaching out when appropriate and let them know that you have this amazing superpower that they would be a fool to ignore.
You might be afraid to reach out to someone bigger than you, but this fear will hold your business back. You know you do great work otherwise you wouldn’t own your own business. You have to understand this fear and try to create a relationship with someone that you know can help your business.
Next time you think an A-lister in your industry could use your help, but you are procrastinating in reaching out, take a step back and write down all the positive things you can do for them. After finishing the list use this as motivation to reach out and try to make a connection.
You’ll be glad that you took the risk and even if you don’t hear anything back, put it on your calendar to reach out to them in 2-4 weeks depending on your industry. By staying in touch in a polite and passionate way you’ll be staying top of mind when they need someone with your expertise.
Your ability to research who will be a good connection for you is a skill you must develop. I know many entrepreneurs who have reached out to the wrong people and tried to go after the wrong type of people for their business. Only when they switched to a different industry did they start to build relationships that helped them grow their business.
I’m glad Stacy was willing to sound like a broken record during our chat. She really wanted to make sure people understood that listening is the key to building any great relationship. It doesn’t matter if it’s your spouse or a strategic business partner. You need to understand what other people need so you can find a way to meet those needs.
What networking tip can you share with us that has worked well for you?