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No quick win: networking is about building relationships over time

  1. Networking
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    Ashley_Price

    Ashley_Price UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 6,582 Likes: 1,184
    2 |

    Networking doesn’t work! It is a waste of time and money!

    How many people believe the above? How often have you said to someone you’re going networking and they tell you it’s a waste of time?

    They probably attended one or two events, talked to lots of people, exchanging their business card with everyone in reach, then got back to the office and sat back, expecting the phone to ring off the hook.

    They will be waiting for a long time.

    So, what happened?

    Quite simply, they had got the idea of networking completely wrong.

    What is a myth is that networking is a quick way to get more business by doing very little other than meeting others in a venue on a regular basis. There is still the belief that networking is another name for telling lots of people in a small area what you do and how you can help them, and they will then be beating a path to your premises.

    To network effectively, you need to build up, over weeks, months and even years, a trusted group of people who you are happy to recommend to others and they will do the same for you.

    To understand this more let’s look at the word ‘network’. You have two words: ‘net’ and ‘work’. Let’s have a quick examination of these words.

    Net

    The dictionary definition of net is “an openwork fabric made of threads or cords that are woven or knotted together at regular intervals”.

    For our use the definition is something similar, but instead of “fabrics and threads” you have “communication” and "trust" and instead of “woven or knotted together at regular intervals” you have “people”.

    So, a net is “several people linked together by communication and trust”.

    Work

    The dictionary tells us work is the “physical or mental effort or activity directed toward the production or accomplishment of something”.

    This is a perfect definition for us.

    “To be successful in networking, you need to put in the work (or the physical and mental effort) directed towards building a net of mutual contacts and potential customers.”

    However, let’s be honest, are you likely to recommend all your friends use Jane Smith Accountancy the day after you first met her? Of course not! You won’t give her details (nor anyone else’s) to your colleagues and associates until you are sure Jane will do a good job for them.

    So, you need to meet people, build up relationships through regular contact (communication) and find out how you can help each other. Get to know each other’s businesses in more depth, learn how each other works. Find out how you can help each other.

    Perhaps something about Jane Smith Accountancy stands out and makes her unique in her industry. These are all things you need to know about her business before you are going to feel safe recommending her to those who trust your judgement.

    And, of course, the same goes for you. Jane isn’t going to tell everyone about you until she knows your business well enough.

    So, when you attend a networking event, you should not expect to get work the very first time (but it does happen occasionally). You are meeting people with the intention of building up a net of mutual contacts and prospective customers.

    Ashley Price is a long-time member of UK Business Forums and a customer advisor for Lewes Mobile Communications, an independent shop in Lewes, Sussex, selling mobile phones and accessories (all views in this article are those of Ashley and may not reflect those of Lewes Mobile Communications).

    #0
  2. Steve WebStudio

    Steve WebStudio UKBF Newcomer Free Member

    Posts: 7 Likes: 3
    Great article, people do turn up to networking events and expect quick response. Its all about the quality of service you provide and it takes time for your name to get around. The best advertising you can do is by doing a good job for your customer.
     
    Posted: Jul 9, 2017 By: Steve WebStudio Member since: Jul 2, 2017
    #2
    Ashley_Price and ChrisGoodfellow like this.
  3. Ashley_Price

    Ashley_Price UKBF Legend Full Member - Verified Business

    Posts: 6,582 Likes: 1,184
    Thank you, Steve.

    Yes, I've been doing networking events (either attending or running them) for at least 10 years, and I regularly see the person who comes in, interrupts the conversation, tries to force their card onto everyone and then moves on to the next group.

    There was an event where one person was being so obnoxious, one of the members told him to "go forth and multiply" (but not in so many words).
     
    Posted: Jul 12, 2017 By: Ashley_Price Member since: Feb 9, 2008
    #3