How we go about networking is important because in the end result, if networking isn’t effective, there is little reason to continue doing it. Networking has many rules of engagement. To ignore them and to try to reinvent the networking wheel is frivolous; it’s high-risk behavior that can leave you wondering why networking isn’t as productive as you thought it might be. Here you will learn the #1 Rule of Engagement.
“Networking is the process of developing and maintaining quality relationships that enrich our lives and empower us to reach our goals. It’s about giving first and realizing we can learn from everyone we meet.” ~ Andrea R. Nierenberg, Million Dollar Networking
With this one rule you will have the knowledge to know just what to do when attending a networking event. Here is the first rule of engagement and the most important one:
1. NEVER attempt to SELL anyone anything the first time you meet them, especially at a networking event or meeting. An “authentic” relationship must be established first. One that is there because you genuinely care about having them as a person in your network of support. Be there to serve not sell.
This #1 rule must be understood and followed if you are going to be successful at networking. Networking is not about selling anything to anyone! PERIOD!
It’s about relationships. It’s about surrounding yourself with people who become your friends and are committed to working with you to exchange business referrals, and to help each other become more successful. Seldom does anyone buy from someone who approaches them at a networking event with a pitch to buy their product or service.
Networking is mostly about giving. It’s about doing something for someone. Are you adding value to others? This is where the “giving” come in. It’s about exploring all possibilities and discovering together ways you can help each other. Annoying someone with your “sales” pitch will get you nowhere.
My friend, Tom Hopkins says, “People like to do business with people they like and trust!” Not one or the other – BOTH “like and trust.”
Always keep your networking on a professional level. For the best results, invite only trusted friends and colleagues to join your network. Be selective. If possible do some research to verify their credibility and trustworthiness.
Trust “must” be earned! You “must” get to know each other FIRST! Be transparent. Allow people to see who you really are. If you feel you must “pitch” your product or service, do it somewhere else – NOT at a networking event or meeting – UNLESS you are requested to do so. (That isn’t likely!)
Perception is reality. If people see you as someone to be avoided because you appear to not know this most important rule, you will find disappointment in your networking experience.
Let’s review my definition of networking:
Networking is. . . using your creative talents to help others achieve their goals as you cultivate a network of people strategically positioned to support you in your goals. . . expecting nothing in return! – Larry James
Copyright © 2011 – Larry James. Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Coach. Larry James presents networking seminars nationally and offers Networking coaching; one-on-one or for your Networking Group! Invite Larry James to speak to your group! His latest book is, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Something NEW about Networking is posted on this Networking BLOG every 4th day! Visit Larry’s Networking Website at: “Networking HQ!”
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