1. Change Your Networking Mindset
It’s all in your mindset. What I realized doing my 4X4 networking challenge back in 2011 when I met with four people I did know and 4 people I did not know every single month for the entire year is that people want to help. Almost everyone I emailed for help and to do an informational interview with, emailed me back and were happy to help.
You have to realize that there are so many people out there who want to help you. I want to help. Other people want to help. When you get to a certain point in your career, the only thing you can still do is to give back and help others, especially those that are just starting out. Most people do want to leave an impact and a legacy and what better way than to help someone new. Realize that there are people out there who really do want to help you.
Of course, there are a few bad apples. If they don’t respond, they aren’t someone you would want in your network anyways.
2. Support Instead of Ask
If you are worried you are bugging them, it could be how you are introducing yourself. Are you asking for something immediately? Do you sound like you are fishing for clients?
I can’t spot those people a mile away and usually do my best to stay away.
I would recommend putting your focus on helping people when you are networking as much as possible. Think about how you can help them first before you ask for a sale. How can you support each other? Truly getting to know someone else and seeing what they need? Taking notes of what your conversation was about so you can make a personal recommendation rather than just checking in later.
3. Focus on Partnerships and Relationships Always
Networking is all about building relationships. I don’t think of networking as a way to get more sales. I think of networking as how I can meet new people and help them. I network so that we can grow together. That is key.
I no longer go to networking events looking for clients and passing out business cards. If I do go to networking events (and I am pretty picky) because I want to go to a networking event where I can find meaningful relationships and partnerships to support each other.
Change your mindset. People do want to help you. You aren’t bugging them. Go with the attitude of serving and helping others first and you’ll always win in the end.