Dear WWPC Members,
It's all about UNDERSTANDING Networking!
"Networking" has become a popular buzzword in recent years.
Exactly what is "networking?" A common perception is that networking simply means going to convention events, meeting as many people as possible (also called "working the room"), and handing out business cards to "qualified" prospects.
According to the Webster dictionary, a network is a "fabric or structure of cords or wires that cross at regular intervals and are knotted or secure at the crossings." If we rewrite that definition a bit for sales purposes, we could say that a network is a "structure of people and contacts that cross at regular intervals and are secure at the crossings."
Notice that this definition does not say anything about handing out business cards, giving elevator speeches, or closing business. Does that mean that networking is a waste of time or that you shouldn't be doing these things?
Not at all. However, to reap the rewards, you do need to rethink your approach and expectations from your networking efforts. Building an effective network means making an ongoing investment in other people without an expectation of anything in return.
"What", you say? "That's crazy! How can I spend time networking without getting anything in return?"
No - that's not what is being said. Instead, what is being said is not to EXPECT anything in return. Your only goal for networking should be having other people view you as a valuable resource and as a part of THEIR network. Wow - when you start thinking of to this way you can begin to see and reap the benefits of a strong network; but networks take time and nurturing to build. Just as with direct sales, the most effective networkers focus on what they can do for the people they meet without focusing on what the other person can do for them. Over time, you build credibility as someone who cares about others, is trustworthy, reliable, and a good person to know. That's when the benefits begin to come back to you.
The real power in networking comes from understanding a simple fact; everyone you know and each person you meet knows on average 250 people. Your goal in networking should not be to get the people you meet to become your agents - it should be to become a part of THEIR network, and for them to become a part of yours. Every contact you make puts you at the reach of potentially another 250 people. Think of it as weaving an intricate web with many crossings. Every positive impression you make strengthens that web.
Quote: "The true strength really comes though when we realize that all the people in our network are also parts of other people's networks that we ourselves don't personally know. That, indirectly, makes each of those people part of our network too."
So, how do you get started?
Here are some tips:
· Don't approach networking with the expectation of immediate gratification; your goal is to meet people and to understand as much about them as you can.
· Don't get discouraged if you don't see things happen right away; true networks take time to build.
· Do ask questions about the other person.
· Do ask if you can stay in touch.
· Do send a follow-up note, and touch on a few things you discussed.
· Do take active steps on a regular basis to strengthen your network by both staying in touch with people you've connected with, and by finding ways to connect with new people.
· Do use networking as one of many tools in your arsenal for effective prospecting.
· Do actively find ways to make connections between members of your network - remember making more and more connections is what it's all about.
· Do offer to do things for others in your network, even if there's no immediate promise of reward or reciprocation.
The expectation is that new business will be quickly secured in the days, weeks, months, and years ahead. However, when this doesn't happen the networker can get discouraged and conclude that it just isn't worth the effort required.
Start changing the way you think about networking, and before long you will start to see the positive impact it can have.
You joined a network. This means you must network in person.
It's all about UNDERSTANDING Networking!
Chief Executive Officer
The WWPC Network