5 Reasons Why Networking Does Not Work

marketing, networking, relationshipsThe richest people in the world look for and build networks; everyone else looks for work. -Robert Kiyosaki If you know me or follow my blog you know that I’m a believer in networking. It is one of my top marketing tactics! However, I hear many people say that networking doesn’t work for them. They are typically negative about the value of networking. So why does networking work for some but not others? Let me offer 5 reasons why networking may not be working well for you. Maybe this will give you some insight as well as some ideas about how to turn networking into a profitable activity for you.

 First, networking may not be working for you because you do not know what networking really is.

What is it? It’s sharing information and resources from one person to another for the purpose of adding value. It’s not just meeting people and it’s not just getting to know people. It’s sharing! It’s exchanging something of value! If there’s no sharing of value, there’s no real networking taking place. So, what kinds of things are worth sharing? Here are a few:
  • information,
  • encouraging or educational links or documents,
  • news that might be relevant to the other person,
  • the name of a resource person,
  • an actual referral (the best),
  • a book,
  • a CD/podcast,
  • an invitation to an event, etc.
Don’t wait on the other person. You start sharing and don’t keep score! What goes around comes around, so pay it forward and keep on sharing.

A second reason networking may not be working for you is because you’re trying to sell at networking events.

In the world of networking you don’t start selling until you have established a “sharing” relationship. Be a giver. Serve others, and wait for the referrals, introductions, and other opportunities to come later. Don’t try to sell at a networking event! It hinders your ability to build relationships. Invest in the relationship first. Sell later.

A third reason networking may not be working for you is because you do not follow up after events with new acquaintances.

Remember, the fruit is in the follow up! When I attend an event I usually talk to lots of people. But I look for one or two that might be a good candidate for my services or a good referral source. Again, I’m not trying to sell anything I’m just trying to build a relationship of trust and generosity. I make it my goal to have a follow up contact with two or more people from the event (e.g. a quick email, a handwritten note, etc.) and I try to see if there might be interest in a follow up meeting over coffee. I’m very low-key and I’m looking for ways to serve them or add value in some way. I want to create a reason for them to want to meet with me. So have a goal and follow up, follow up, follow up!

A fourth reason networking may not be working is because you’re going to the wrong networking events!

Outside of the typical designated networking event, there are community service groups, committees, various luncheons/breakfasts, community events, etc. All of these can serve as excellent opportunity to be networking. Check around and you may be surprised at all the different ways and places you can network. Find the ones that give you the best shot at meeting people who can help you grow your business.

Finally, networking may not be working because of your mindset.

If you dread taking the time to “network” or you attend an event with reluctance or a negative attitude, it will have a negative effect on your networking success. Make sure you are mentally and emotionally prepared to “network” before you attend an event. Go with a goal in mind and determine beforehand that this will be a beneficial experience. Be positive, optimistic, and look for opportunity. Most of all be generous. Go to give. Take an interest in the people you meet. Plan to find someone to serve in some way. Of all the things I’ve mentioned, your mindset is the biggest game-changer! Don’t waste your time networking if your head’s not in the game. Don’t be lazy. Go to win. Go to work. And go to give. You CAN make it fruitful!

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One Response to “5 Reasons Why Networking Does Not Work”

  1. Al Vincent says:

    I am doing all the things you say to do. Still not working.Sometimes I wonder why people at the events even go to networking events. You say I could be going to the wrong events. What is the right event? We have three big events here in town, and I have attended all of them regularly. They serve food and alcohol at these events. Is that an indication this is a wrong event. (I neither eat or drink there. I am there to network.) One guy from the same company as I am with told me he is just there for the women (all dressed to the nines) and someone else told me they go for the food. They play music too.Is this a “wrong event.” It is First Tuesdays. I know they have then all over the country. Honestly, I got more business cold calling and contacting in coffee shops than I did at networking or chamber events. Awaiting your wisdom.

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