Invariably when people come on my networking courses, it’s with mixed emotions. Yes, they want to network and bring in more business. But 99 percent of them are worried they’re going to have to start being, well, pushy.
I’ve got good news.
If you’re a nice person who doesn’t want to be pushy then that’s a great start to your career as a networker. That’s because networking isn’t about launching into sales mode. It’s about getting people to know you, like you and trust you.
Remember that people like to do business with people they like. The rest can come later…once you’ve built a relationship. If you think about the people you do business with, or whom you recommend to others, it’s probably not the people who foist themselves on you. It’ll be people you like, people you’ve been aware of for a while. People who, when the need arises, you’re pleased to recommend because you like and trust them.
Newsflash: this is how the world works. It’s all networking is.
People love to be in the know and get a huge buzz from recommending “their” people to others. How many times have you heard someone say “I’ve got a fabulous mechanic”? Or, “you’re disappointed with you accountant? I know someone who’s just gone out on his own and he’s a top bloke”.
Those kinds of recommendations are brilliant, but they don’t come as a result of selling yourself hard to strangers. Building up that kind of confidence takes time and multiple encounters.
So next time you’re about to go to a networking event. Or you’re logging onto LinkedIn. Or someone asks you what you do at a party, there’s no need to panic and retreat into your shell. Get your brave up. And concentrate on being yourself and learning more about the people you’re mixing with.
That’s what good networking is all about.
How would feel if you arrived to make the first presentation for a new key-account client without having done any preparation?
Anxious, nervous, self-conscious, exposed?
How would you react to one of your team members if you found out that’s how they’d turned up to their first meeting?
So I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I suggest that to get the best out of any situation you need to do some preparation and planning.