Networking is a contact sport, a game requiring two (or more) participants that are mutually invested in giving and receiving. It takes time, patience, stamina and a good sense of humor and even when you are playing the game with the very best intentions things can go awry.
Let me share a situation. Recently I introduced two individuals with the hope that they would be able to help each other with contacts and connections and possibly even open their mutual doors to potential clients. It seemed like a good fit…and it was.
Several weeks later one of the parties called me and expressed their dismay over the fact that they reached out to my referral and had not received any reply to their several emails.
I was surprised by the lack of response and asked to see a copy of the emails that were sent. And then it became patently clear—the emails were not written in the spirit of networking; rather, they were of a sales nature and devoid of any true networking content at all.
No wonder there was no reply!
So people, when your networking calls or emails go unanswered, ask yourself:
— Was my content too “salesy”
— Did I come across as interested in only one thing…pushing my product or service
— Did I convey a spirit of mutuality
Be honest now. If you find yourself being ignored the problem just might lie in how you are communicating and executing your networking. If so, then it is relatively easy to make a change:
— Forget the sales pitch in ANY networking endeavor. If the relationship turns into one in which you are providing your product or service it should be because your fellow networker recognized your expertise and wanted to avail themselves of your services
— Be interested and curious and forge a relationship. Not only do people DO business with people that they know and like they give more referrals to people that they know and like. Be one of those people.
— Don’t be impatient. Networking takes time and many months or even years can go by before your networking turns into a business opportunity. Plant the seeds, nurture them well and business will develop.
Now, I also know that there are some networkers that are unresponsive even when your email or call is positioned appropriately. In these cases I simply say screw it and move on to the next one. Don’t waste your time or energy trying to break through to an unresponsive networker. There are plenty of willing, open and responsive folks out there. Network with them and good things will happen.