Action Catalyst Blog

Why Your Networking is Not Working

Networking. It’s a great way to build business, right? We say, “Hey, we’re going out to this event to develop warm leads for our business.”

Yet, you can have two entrepreneurs or two salespeople who have widely differing views on networking’s effectiveness. Why is that?

One person says, “Networking, what a waste of time. I’ve been to so many meetings and got zero business out of it. It doesn’t work.”

The next person says networking meetings are hugely valuable. In fact, some people I know stake their entire businesses on their networking strategy.

How can have two people going to the same event have diametrically opposed opinions about networking’s effectiveness?

It’s simple: It’s because some people understand the secret of networking, and others just don’t.

There’s simple strategy for how and when and why networking works (and when it doesn’t). Build relationships before you ever need them.

One mistake people make at networking meetings is immediately trying to sell to everyone in the room. That’s not going to get you very far because nobody’s going to line up for a sales conversation when they’re trying to build their own business.

Another networking mistake is asking for referrals right away. But why would a person you just met give you referrals? Well, they wouldn’t, so then we say, “See? Networking doesn’t work.”

It’s not that networking doesn’t work. It’s the strategy you’re using. The real key is building relationships before you need them.

Now, how do you build relationships? By spending time with people, by building trust with them. Most of all, the way you build meaningful relationships to give before you receive.

You give to people: You provide value, you provide help, you provide support, whether that’s encouragement, or information, or introductions, and you have to do that first before you expect something in return.

Of course, you can sell to somebody you just met. In fact, we’re a big fan of that at Southwestern Consulting.

Our original coaching curriculum was sales coaching. We love the idea of selling. There’s no problem with approaching anybody, anywhere you go, and selling, but that’s not what networking is.

Networking’s different. It’s a longer-term play. It’s a different strategy. When you’re at a networking event, you should be building relationships first, not selling.

This applies to any business: If there’s anybody out there we think can support us in our work, we want to help them before we ask for something. We want to give before we receive.

Build relationships before you need them. That’s networking’s secret.

That’s a different way of thinking, and it’ll help you grow your business if you do it right.

I invite you to request a free call to learn about coaching with Southwestern Consulting.

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