Prospecting Vs Networking
Frequently when attending networking events like networking chats, I find that people are prospecting rather than networking, even though they have gone to a networking event. It appears that most people are unaware that there is a difference between the two.
So, do you prospect or network when you go to events?
Prospecting is when people go out to claim as many clients or contacts as they can so that they build their own business without any thought of what they have to offer the people they are meeting. Usually there is no getting to know or understand the person they are meeting, let alone relationship building, to see if there is a synergy between them and their businesses.
When networking it is important that you build your relationship firstly by listening and seeing where you can help or support them with what they are looking to achieve in their business. If you are really listening properly, it is not important to even talk about YOU and what YOU DO!
All relationships need to be win-win and if you help others to achieve their outcomes yours will be achieved in the long run without any effort on your part. People tend to feel that they need to support those who support them, so you will win in the end anyway.
Of course this goes back to understanding why you are business networking in the first place and what you are wanting to achieve from attending events.
Networking is something we need to be doing all the time … a seven day a week ‘thing’ that we automatically do with everyone we meet. It is not about pushing your product, service or company onto another, it is about developing a relationship so that the person gets to know you, who you are and what you stand for as a person. People buy people they like and trust firstly, so don’t expect that they will automatically take what you are offering anyway.
Good solid business relationships take time and effort to attain just as personal relationships do. It is a bit like dating … you don’t expect on a first date to have a full blown relationship the first time you are together, so think of your networking in a similar way. Firstly, get to know the person, who they are, what they stand for whilst understanding what they do and how you can support them.
Not everyone you meet has a business that you need their services or products. By developing the relationship you will be able to learn about them and maybe support them with friends and clients that you know who may want or need what they offer. This is true business networking. Even in small business networking.
Copyright © 2011 Jennie Gorman
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