April 2019 Featured Carousel Features

90% Give/10% Take

Written By: John Spence

Many people recommend you should go to every networking event and meet as many people as possible. Move around the room, hand out business cards, tell people about what you do and try to figure out if the person in front of you might be a potential prospect. They will tell you that it is all a numbers game. That is not true.

I have 20,000 connections on LinkedIn, 14,500 on Twitter, 3,520 on Facebook and about 8,000 people in my email database. Out of all those folks, I know about 400 of those well, and only about 100 would be considered vital business contacts. You do not network to get numbers; you network to create a genuine human connection.

Networking is about finding people you can help. It is not about what they can do for you; it is about what you can do for them. The goal is 90 percent give, 10 percent take. When you approach the relationship like this, you build a real relationship, you create a real friend, and you build trust. There is an old saying in sales that people buy from people they know, like and trust – and that is absolutely the truth.

When you think about networking in this frame, it changes the way you look at it. A good networker is curious; they listen and ask questions – not talk about themselves and their company.

They find out as much as they can about the other person, not to use it against them, but to use it to help them. They are always searching for ways to connect people, refer people and get people the information they need. Someone who goes about networking this way will soon position themselves as the “go-to person,” where people seek them out for assistance.

Keep in mind; I’m not saying you must do this for every person you meet at a networking event. You want to have a clear idea of who you want in your network and spend your time focusing on them.

Networking is about finding people you can help. It is not about what they can do for you; it is about what you can do for them.

Once you identify a person who would be perfect for your network, immediately try to set up a meeting so you can find out more about them and what they do. Find out what they’re interested in, inquire about their family life, learn more about their business, ask about their challenges and areas they are looking to improve. The more you know about them, the more you will know how to help them.

Then, start looking for ways you can assist them. Who do you know in your network that they need to meet? Who can you refer to their business? Find articles or blogs you can send them about things that are important to them and their business. Connect with them on social media and comment on their posts. Treat them like a valued friend, and they will become one.

Does this take a lot of time? Yes. Is this a lot of work? Yes. Does it seem like I’m doing a lot of things for them and they’re not doing anything for me? Yes and no. I said above that a good networking relationship is 90 percent give, 10 percent take. If you do all the things I’m recommending, those key people in your network will bend over backward to do anything they can to help you.

Some of the people I’ve met at networking events and through my businesses have become my closest friends in the world. Many have become clients, and many more have referred me to businesses they think I can help.

I’ve never gone to a networking event focused on “what can I get out of this?” Instead, I get excited because I see it as an opportunity to help people and make new friends who might, one day, be able to help me. When you look at it that way, networking is fun, low stress and enjoyable. Not the way most people think about a networking event! 

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