Business Networking Might Be Great For Business Leads & Personal Contacts, But You May Be Wasting Your Time
By Rene Godefroy
Do you attend business-networking events in order to collect business leads that can open doors for you? Well, you may be wasting your time. Let me explain.
In my book, No Condition is Permanent, I talk about being a small fish in a big pond. I even share some excellent tips on how to swim with the big fish. But, my first advice to you is to rethink your business networking strategy.
You should ask yourself the following questions: “Can the connections I am making really help me to get ahead? Am I swimming in the right pond with the right fish?”
Now, I am not saying that some of the people in the circle may not turn out to be a good resource for you. But you may want to reach for a level where those contacts have never been before.
So, avoid networking with people who are hassling you to get your business, or those who just want something from you. Networking is truly about creating long-term relationships that can pull you up. Now, notice I am talking about making connections versus getting favors. All relationships should be a two-way street, both personal and professional.
You should seek out influential people who can swing some doors open for you, and help you get where you want to go. You need to push forward in order to get ahead.
Here’s how to do so:
- Do something to get on the radar of those in a position to assist you.
Speaking for the National Speakers Association automatically put me in touch with Les Brown, Mark Victor Hansen, and the like. Okay, you may not be in a position to write a book or keynote a big conference yet. But I’m certain there’s something you can do to move your own career along. All it takes is a little thinking outside the box – a little creativity.
- Instead of attending business networking events to collect business leads, become a private investigator.
Do a little investigating to find out what challenge the people whose radar you are trying to get on are facing. Then write an article about the challenge or problem and offer some solutions. Send the article to a key player in your field. You only need one key contact to introduce you to the rest of the people in that group. Does that make sense to you? You may even have an idea to help raise money and awareness for a cause that you know is important to the people you are trying to reach. Contact them and let them know about it.
- Brainstorm for ideas.
Here’s a clever way to come up with ideas that can help you contact a key influencer: Take a piece of paper and write your goals across the top of it; then jot down every way you might be able to make the connection. Be outrageous. Go for it!
But remember, as you strive to make those meaningful contacts, definitely be available to be a meaningful contact to someone else. And I am dead serious about that. Success is also a two-way street. You must have one hand reaching for the top and another reaching to help pull someone up from the bottom.