Sure there are articles and books galore on the how’s and why’s of networking. (Heck I even wrote some of them.)
But really, at the very end of the day there are just 3 simple things that you must remember:
- It’s not about you. The second you get into a long monologue about what you do you run thew risk of putting people to sleep. No one cares what you do. If they care about anything they care about what it might mean to them and/or the people that they (might) introduce you to. Go on and on about the ins and outs of your business and you are going to turn people off. ‘Nuf said. (Honest now, haven’t you ever sat in a networking meeting bored out of your mind while a fellow networker drones on and on about their product or service?)
- Following-up is the only thing that will provide you with ROI on your networking endeavors. Simply put, if you don’t take the time to develop robust relationships you can kiss your introductions and referrals good-bye. Nothing happens until you have multiple conversations and/or meetings with your potential referral sources. You need to develop trust and trust takes time.
- Networking is a game of patience and strategy. You need to play it well in order to get results. Think long and hard about which networking events you should attend and what you intend to get out of the event. Be strategic. Not every group or meeting is right for everyone but the good news is that there IS a group for EVERYONE!
It can take months, and even years, before you can see profitable results from your networking endeavors. Don’t give up before you have a chance for success.