Networking: How to Make It Work Better
Everyone reading this blog spends extraordinary hours doing business networking. All too often there is a general sense that “there must be more.” As a long-time business networker, please indulge me these thoughts on how to make it better.
One of the most enjoyable professional experiences is the “aha” moment that erupts when you are able to provide a business contact with a lead. It is a tremendously enjoyable and effective way to network.
Unfortunately, these peak “aha” moments are quite infrequent and much less common than most people think. In truth, because these experiences can be so memorable, that it is easy to think they occur every other week.
If you look closely, it’s probably more than every few months.
When you network, don’t limit yourself to looking for aha moments. There is no need to. Rather, learn about what your business contacts do, even if you don’t immediately need them, and they don’t immediately need you.
When you develop relationships with quality partners and learn about what they do, how they do it, and with whom they do it, you are in essence acquiring a store of valuable information. You are increasing your capacity to be proactive, and to generate exponentially more aha moments in the future if and when an opportunity to work together happens.
The thing to remember here is that you don’t need to have anything from a potential networking partner in order to find out all about them.
“Aha” moments will pop up from time to time and they will still be very enjoyable experiences. But remember: Networking these days, and in the future isn’t merely about trading cards and seeking that rare “Oh yes, I know someone who can do that” moment. It’s about proactively building your business bank account with value, with information that you have learned from actively generating leads.
In this way, your access to new business professionals will increase as your circle widens and opens outside of its conventional framework.
The results will be more “aha” moments. A high-quality network of diverse professionals who can provide answers and insight. And, of course, my old favorite: more prospects which lead to more customers.
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