How one networker made it clear he didn’t want to talk, without telling me. This is a true, but sad, story I tell in the hope that we can all learn from! I may even have been guilty at times, have you?
What is business networking about?
Business networking is about developing relationships so you can increase profitability in both businesses. You may go networking for other things too: social interaction, education, companionship and fun are commonly cited.
At a networking event a networker recently said to me “I like coming to this group, but it’s personal rather than simply business, is that OK?” I think that’s fine; what about you, why do you go networking?
What if you don’t like everybody you meet when networking?
You may well meet people you don’t get on with; it’s a fact of life (I hope it’s not me). How do you deal with those situations? The right answer is probably to treat them politely, never to be rude about or “diss them” (as I was told the other day) and keep out of their way. What’s your favourite way of dealing with people you meet and don’t like?
Inadvertently destroying a connection.
The real story of this article is about when a networker I knew well changed his strategy and disconnected himself from a group of people without meaning to.
Networking is about developing relationships, not looking for people to sell to. Some of those relationships become so strong that they become strategic partners and can help generate significant business (or other benefits) for you (and vice versa).
The contact in question and I used to regularly meet up and talk about our different businesses, work together and help each other out. He had to change his business model, the way he did it meant that we stopped meeting up. Later I got some feedback from his clients that would have helped him retain them. I don’t believe in unsolicited feedback (unless the circumstances are right). I rang and emailed to suggest we meet – no replies. We drifted out of touch and I know that my business missed out as a result (I like to think that his did too).
Happily for me about a year later we met up, talked openly and restored our business relationship to its previous position. He had been so wrapped up in his new strategy that he hadn’t realised how he had cut key contacts out of his networking circle.
How to get more from your networking.
Think about the relationships you use in your network; be aware of the main ones, monitor them regularly, especially when you’re under going changes to your strategy. It’s easy to get wrapped up in big changes, but lose sight of where you were trying to go.
What makes networking work for you?