The primary purpose of any small, organized networking group is to work together as a team to support each other. However, many networking groups fall apart at the seams because not everyone is doing their part. A winning team works together. Taking for granted that others in the group will automatically give you business referrals is a big mistake.
A networking group IS a business support group. Are you doing your part? Once again… A winning team works together!
That means that every member has an important task. When you have others in your network who are people who are aways pitching their product of services to others, someone in leadership needs to have a conversation with them to let them know that networking is not about selling, it’s about giving. Usually people who don’t get it will fall by the wayside. AND… that’s a good thing! Dead weight can discourage others from maximum networking performance.
Here is my definition: 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!
Although using another member’s product or services may count as a business referral, if those kind of referrals are dominating your group, your group is doomed to eventually fail. Business referrals must past back and forth to members for it to work. Your creative talents can be defined as actively and consistently looking for business referrals for others. Few people are willing to put themselves on the line like that.
A professional networker’s purpose must be to help others by spending a few hours each week actually looking for business referrals to give to others and to report to the group. That’s how you support your network. Encouraging others to do the same should also be part of your mission.
Developing the trust with other members needed to help you feel “safe” in giving a referral is a process that takes time. To cultivate a network of supports takes work. You must be able to learn the kind of referrals that other members need. That also takes time. Do you frequently schedule meetings outside of your group to get to know other members better? If not, why not? It’s an important part of the networking process.
You have to be responsible for doing your part to make it positive and productive. If “everyone” in your network would learn to do that, I’m sure you and the other members would be surprised at how much better the group would work together.
Business networking is NOT about selling… it’s about “Giving” to others! If you really want to stand out from the crowd, get to know others in your network of support much better, actively search for ways you can offer support to them either by giving business referrals or referring people that they may need e.g., a quality plumber, etc.
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!”
Subscribe to “Networking HQ BLOG with Larry James” and receive a fresh networking article or tip every 4th day by e-mail. Click on the “Email Subscription” link on the right under the “search” box. You can unsubscribe anytime!
NOTE: All articles and networking tips listed in this BLOG – written by Larry James – are available for reprint in magazines, periodicals, newsletters, newspapers, eZINEs, on the Internet or on your own Website. Click here for details.
Add Larry James as a “friend” to your Facebook page: http://www.Facebook.com/larry.james
Follow Larry’s “once daily” Relationship Tweet at: http://www.Twitter.com/larryjames
Follow Larry’s “Relationship BLOG” at: http://CelebrateLove.wordpress.com/
Follow Larry’s “Wedding BLOG” at: http://CelebrateIntimateWeddings.wordpress.com
Follow Larry’s “Authors & Speakers” BLOG at: http://www.AuthorsandSpeakerNetwork.wordpress.com/