We've all been to a load of various networking functions before, only to leave disappointed with the fact that it was an apparent waste of time. Too many people with the wrong mentality. Too many people trying to sell and push their products and services. Too many people just wanting to talk about themselves. After taking time away from your business, health and lifestyle pursuits and most importantly, time away from your family, it is very easy to see why so many people say that networking doesn’t work.
What if we took a completely different approach to networking? An approach where it was not about walking away with a sale but about giving to everyone you talk to. Creating a relationship and rapport with everyone. Asking questions and getting to know them personally and trying to be the solution to what they need.
Ivan Misner, one of the grandfathers of network referrals and the founder of the biggest networking group in the world, BNI – Business Network International, has a saying instilled within the organisation that ‘givers gain.’ Based off his principle, quite simply put, the more you give ,the more you gain. And to this day, this mantra holds true.
Setting up a relationship and gaining that rapport with the other parties you are networking with is the best step forward to gaining their trust and securing that sale. The sale may not be that day, but the process works in the long run.
For most people their favourite subject will always be talking about themselves (as much as most people try and deny it). So asking numerous questions about them personally and professionally, whilst trying to find their challenges and discover a way for you to be a solution or provide an outcome that would assist them, is always going to be the number one way of advancing your chance to secure that sale. Maybe not a sale at that event but a long term sale of repeated value, multiple purchases and long lasting relationships built on trust and respect which inevitably leaves onto an unlimited supply of referrals in the future.
Networking works. Networking can be the lifeblood of any business. Networking will always work and will always be the cheapest form of revenue growth in any business. The challenge is that you just need to do it right.
Take the time, learn the value, follow the rules and experience the success.