Most networkers will agree that they got involved in business networking to “get” leads from others that will increase their business. That makes sense, but that’s really not the most important reason to network. The real reason you should be networking should be based upon my definition of networking. Read it slowly and let it sink in.
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
I speak at and attend a lot of networking meetings and the biggest complaint I hear is, “I never get any leads/referrals.” My first question is, “Are you ‘giving’ any leads/referrals?” Please understand that networking is first about building long-lasting business relationships that – after the relationship is established – the leads will come.
The best way to create attention to yourself is to bless someone else in your group with a lead.
Many people attend their weekly networking meeting, talk to a few other networkers, leave the meeting and only think of networking when it is again time to attend another meeting. And you wonder why networking is not working for you and you never receive any leads? Really?
How long has it been since you took some of your valuable time each day to focus on doing your best to bring “at least” one business lead to the meeting next week?
If you do not have a specific intention of actually looking for business leads for your networking partners… you will most likely be the networker who complains the most that you never get any leads. Does that make sense?
Suggestion: Purchase a nice looking business card holder. Put at least 3 t0 5 business cards of each of the members from your group in it and carry it with you wherever you go during your busy business week. I set this precedent as a mandatory rule for all members of the Tulsa Business Connection when I started the group many years ago. Virtually every member carried it with them. And nearly every member received as least one business lead each week from someone. Our 60 members (one from each business classification) generated more than $2,000,000 in business leads between members in our very first year!
Networking only works if you work it! You must consciously be looking for business for others before you can expect to receive leads and referrals for yourself.
I can tell you for sure, that if your networking group would adopt the idea of carrying the business cards of every member of their group in a handsome business card holder with them on their sales calls, appointments, etc., business leads would begin showing up at your meetings and the entire focus and dynamic of the group would change for the better.
If you don’t look for business leads for others, you won’t notice them when the show up.
Larry’s Note: If your group needs some inspiration or perhaps a kick in the seat of the pants that will help them to get off their butts and to network the way that works, perhaps you may want to invite me to speak to your group.
Copyright © 2013 – Larry James. Adapted from Larry’s latest book, Ten Commitments of Networking: Creative Ways to Maximize Your Personal Connections! Larry James is a Professional Speaker, Author and Networking Coach. He presents networking seminars nationally and “Networking” coaching by telephone or one-on-one. 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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