You are not a fan of networking, mostly because it feels too “salesy” or uncomfortable. But you know it’s the right thing to do, at some level.
Too often we see networking as something that is about glad-handing and putting on a face. Instead, it’s a longer investment. It’s looking for relationships (not customers) that may eventually serve in a strategic alliance with you.
See networking as a seed-planting for long-term benefits. In fact, don’t eliminate meeting anyone simply because you think they are not a good fit for a future alliance.
Then think “delayed gratification” in the time you’ll spend getting to know them. And then follow these tips:
Assess your big picture network, where you interact, who you touch, and where you have more opportunities to reach out to a bigger network.
- If it’s an in-person situation, don’t stress yourself out over feeling like you have to meet everyone.
- Think of an interaction as nothing more than making a friend. Do not look beyond that. Do not try to SELL.
- Err on the side of asking questions of the other person. Seek to understand and get to know. Curb the selfie stories.
- Follow-up is a critical key to success. Ask yourself what your system is, how you track business cards, when you phone someone or send a note, and so on. Take it up a notch.
- If you lay the groundwork, the connections will result. People will remember you, and when it comes the time where they need your type of service, guess whose name will pop up!??