Served as editor
– Book Sample –
1. Give first and expect nothing in return.
Q. I’ve been in sales for years and I consider myself pretty good at networking. However, you say that what I’m doing isn’t networking. What is your definition of networking?
Dave: What is your definition of networking? Over the years, I have asked hundreds of people this question and am always amazed at the variety of answers I receive. Here are a few:
“Meeting as many people as I can.”
“Finding people who can help me get what I need.”
“Talking to people about my product.”
“Getting business cards from as many people as possible.”
As you can see, there are many answers to this simple question. My definition of networking is: Doing what you can to help other people reach their goals and desires, by being a valuable business and personal resource and expecting nothing in return. Expecting nothing in return usually catches people off guard, considering everyone wants to get something when they network.
Zig Ziglar, one of the greatest motivational speakers of our time says, “If you help enough people get what they want, they will help you get what you want.” It must, however, be done in this order. You cannot approach networking as, “I’ll help you or give you some business after you have helped me.” You must be proactive and help other people first!
Let me share an example. As a professional speaker, I travel a lot and spend many nights in hotels. No matter which hotel chain I am staying with, there is always a bible in the room. I must confess I haven’t read much of the Bible, but I do know it states, “He who gives shall receive.” It doesn’t state, “He who has received a lot should give back too.” I believe, if it’s good for the big guy upstairs, it should be good for you too.
2. Network, don’t prospect.
Q. If most people aren’t networking when they think they are, what are they doing?
Dave: Think back to the last networking function you attended. How many of the people you met handed you their business cards whether you wanted them or not? How many spent what must have felt like a huge amount of time telling you everything you never wanted to know about their products or services? What was your reaction to these people? Did you have a strong desire to do business with them, or did you just want to get away?
What these people were doing was prospecting. They were on the prowl to make a sale. You know the people I’m talking about. They launch into their sales pitches before they know anything about you. They also immediately lose interest if they find out you don’t have any interest in their products or services.
There is nothing wrong with prospecting. It is something every businessperson needs to do. However, there is a big difference between networking and prospecting. Once you understand this difference, you will never approach a networking function in the same way again.