“Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.” –Thomas Edison
Some business people are not networking effectively. Most are networking according to old rules, which are really old habits. And old habits really do die hard when it comes to business networking.
- Talking with those you already know for an exorbitant amount of time. Business networking is about making contact with strangers. One of my favorite sayings by “best selling” author Harvey Mackay is, “If you’re networking with people you already know. You’re not a network, you’re an ant hill!” By the way, an exorbitant amount of time is any amount of time over five minutes. How long does it take to ask and get an answer to “How’s things since I last saw you two weeks ago?”
- Walking into a networking event and making a “bee line” to the first person you spot that you already know. Old habits are hard to break. If you want to avoid the results mentioned in number one above. You must make the effort and have the courage to walk up to the first stranger you come face to face with at a business networking event. If you don’t do this immediately it will become even tougher to break out of your comfort zone. The function will quickly turn into net-socializing instead of “Net-working”
- Spending a lot of time around the buffet table and wet bar. If you have read any one of my three books on Fearless Networking, you know that these locations are where the shy and bashful people hang out. Having sold over 120,000 networkers my books, right here in the Houston, it’s a pretty good chance that you have been pegged. Just kidding. People that spend a lot of time around the buffet tables or wet bars are some of the easiest people to approach. Just don’t block my path to the hors’ d’ oeuvres are to the wineJ.
- Not having any business cards to hand out. This can easily happen. You can leave them in the coat you wore last. So, keep twenty business cards on hand in your car’s glove compartment. Even if you parked three blocks away, around a corner, go get your business cards!
- Failing to take the time to build a relationship first, instead of immediately jumping into your 60 second product or service spiel or your 30 second elevator talk. It’s a proven fact that People do business with people they know and like. The next time you are tempted to do this, ask yourself: “How can people get to like and know me, when I am talking about myself and my needs rather than listening for their needs, concerns and business issues?” Remember the old adage, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.” Trite but true!
- Using a networking meeting as a way “net-fun” or “net a date.” Those who do this, you know who you are. The sad thing is, just about everyone else also knows. When your primary purpose is to “net-fun,” just know that this type behavior gets around very fast. Even if you are a terrific businessperson you can quickly gain an unwelcomed reputation.
- Drinking to gain the confidence to meet strangers at a networking event. This usually backfires for several reasons. Unbeknownst to you. You become louder, sometimes red-faced and sometimes jumble your words. Even when you’re good at, as you might say, “holding your liquor” others quickly can detect when a shy person is drinking to act braver. A shy person, who is drinking to overcome his shyness, is still a shy person when he drinks. He just thinks he’s braver.
- Signing up on LinkedIn, Twitter and Face Book and never going beyond signing up and agreeing to link with others, Social networking is a terrific way to promote your product and services, brand yourself and build relationships.
- Joining a networking group and not vetting the group to see whether it is the right fit.
- Being a part of networking group to primarily seek referrals and not much interested in giving referrals. As Dr. Ivan Misner, founder of Business Networking International (BNI) says, “Givers Gain.”
Learn how to network fearlessly by ordering Ken Marsh’s new DVD, “How to Fearlessly Network for New Business Development Seminar” today!! Learn how to fearlessly network for a job. Go to: www.fearlessnetwokers.com.