Professional networkers understand the concept of delayed gratification! They know that networking is not a quick fix to a slow business trend.
Networking is an organized method of designing links from the people you know, connecting with the people they know, gaining and using an ever expanding base of contacts to exchange information, advice, business referrals and support. Virtually anyone can benefit from networking when they understand that developing a network is time consuming – and I am proof that it’s really worth it.
“But… I just don’t have time to network.”
For some who say something like that, I would say, “What you are really saying is, ‘I don’t have time nor am I inclined to take the time to invest in helping other. I’m doing good just to keep my head above water myself!'”
Hmmm. In that case you probably would do better making more sales calls and looking for prospects to sell to somewhere else, not at a networking meeting or event.
Networking and selling are inconsistent, therefore prospecting at a networking meeting or event will only turn off the people you “think” might buy something from you and who might be in a position to help you in the future. Networking and selling don’t mix; like oil on water, networking and selling have important but separate functions – selling is making a sale – networking is about building relationships.
Making connections with people and developing close business relationships is about helping them get what they want which is the first step toward helping you get what you want. Yes, it takes time to develop business relationships and your business will not consistently move forward until you learn to look for the opportunity to assist someone else in their endeavors. I call it delayed gratification. To me that means, having the ability to resist the temptation for an immediate reward and wait for a later reward.
Networking will teach you patience. Give your business a break. It can get along without you long enough for you to help someone else. For a business to succeed it needs constant motion and while you’re creating that momentum, take a break, get your mind off yourself and your business and focus on helping someone else’s business. This could be the very distraction your mind needs to fully create what’s next for your business.
Again… networking is no quick fix if you’re not doing well in business. If you need a few quick sales to get back on track, networking is NOT the place where you should focus your time and efforts. Focus instead on prospecting for more business. Networking is NOT the place to prospect. First… get your act together. It’s hard enough to sell yourself when things aren’t working well for you.
Attitude also plays an important part when networking. When attending a networking function, notice the people who are excited about being there. Keep your eye on them because they are the ones who are dedicated to helping others. They enter the room with confidence. They move around the room maintaining their connections and introducing others to people they need to know. They are very aware of their appearance and dress well. They know to stop talking before people stop listening. You may hear them say, “Betty, tell me what I need to know if somebody I’m talking to would be a good connection for you?” They are the ones people like and trust and have earned the right to receive referrals. Referrals rarely are received by people who enter the room in selling mode with dollar signs on their forehead.
So when you get your act together – when you make a major adjustment in your attitude, that’s when networking will begin to work for you. Other people will fall in line to be in your network, but you have to have an attitude that shows that you believe in yourself. In other words, you have to sell them on the idea of believing in you too which is part of the relationship building process. Nothing can move your career further and faster than having a base of people positioned to support you in your goals. Conversely, few things feel better than using your talents to help others achieve their goals. Once you get the hang of networking, you will use your network everyday to solve problems, find employees, get a new job, buyers, and suppliers; and get good advice, moral support and qualified referrals. The possibilities are as endless as the range of human relationships.
Networking involves more than trading business cards. It requires skill and chutzpah. It can open up a world of opportunities for you. It keeps you in touch by connecting you to new people and information. Getting ahead requires access to opportunity, and access comes through “making” the time to have great relationships with others. If you neglect to nurture relationships, you put your career plans in jeopardy.
So… when you think of business networking think of “delayed gratification.” Just don’t allow that thought to distract you from something that can genuinely rock your world.
Copyright © 2014 – 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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