Being a successful networker has a lot to do with your frame of mind, and what your agenda is.
First it’s important to realize that sales and networking are two different things. Networking is about building relationships and impacting others.Where I see folks get into trouble is with their personal agenda. If your agenda when you’re out networking is to make a sale you’re going to have a very hard time and be disappointed. Too often we look at a room full of people in a networking event as a room full of prospective customers. This is a dangerous trap. If our agenda is to sell to these people we’re going to miss out on the bigger opportunity. There may be a few dozen people in the room, but if we look at the number of people that they directly influence it can be in the thousands!
My agenda when I’m at a networking meeting is to do two things. First, build relationships. I want to get to know a couple of people a little bit better at each event. This often leads to us getting together for a 1-2-1 meeting later to really begin to build our relationship. Second, I’m looking to help 2-3 people. This can take many forms. I might be able to refer them to someone. I may be able to suggest another meeting or opportunity that could benefit them. It can take a lot of forms. Really I just want to be able to make an impact, even if it’s a small one.
So what’s your agenda?