Greg Peters, Guest Author
One of the challenges of networking for a lot of people (including myself at times) is the old “knowledge versus belief” problem. We know that the best long-term strategy to succeed in our business and personal life is developing strong relationships through networking. The problem is we don’t always believe it. What else could cause us to try to sell at a networking event, despite the fact that the numbers don’t support it?
Okay, so most of us aren’t that blatant about it, but sometimes when we’re talking to someone we hear that voice in the back of our heads saying “This guy is never going to need my widgets. I should go talk with someone else.” We’re ignoring the fact that, while he doesn’t need our product, his sister very well might – and we’re never going to discover that until we learn more about him and who he is.
So, how do we embed this belief into our hearts? Maybe it just takes a mental exercise.
You’ve probably heard about keeping a “Victory List”. For those who haven’t, the idea is to make a list of all of the victories you’ve had in your life. Then you periodically look back on it to give you confidence that you can achieve even more in the future. This is a great practice and I definitely think everyone should maintain such a list. Here’s the twist on it, though. Each night when we do our networking scorecard, or do our planning for the next day, or even just after we turn out the lights, we should take something from that list and reflect on how many people helped us get there.
Who were the teachers who gave us the knowledge? Who were the coaches who pointed the way? Who were the friends and family who supported us? Who were the heroes who inspired us? Who were the partners who contributed their effort? Who were the connections who made the introductions? Who were the advocates who went to bat for us?
In short, who made it possible for us to succeed?
If we do this exercise just a few times, it quickly becomes apparent how much more important the relationship is than the sale. If we do it daily for a few weeks, we’ll be a lot less likely to slip into “sales thinking” and be a lot more likely to look for ways to connect which each new person you meet.
Copyright © 2011 – Greg Peters. Reprinted with permission. Greg Peters built a thriving Web development business over the last fifteen years using only the networking skills he developed during that time. A computer programmer by training, he was the original reluctant networker. Through study, practice, and lots of trial and error, however, he has been able to transform himself into a networking superhero — a transformation he would like to help all entrepreneurs make.
Greg now has a coaching practice helping people develop their skills to build better connections and stronger networks. In addition to his blog, “The Reluctant Networker“, he also speaks to groups regularly on the topic of good networking practice
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