Networking Myths and Truths
Stop being seduced by the dark side of networking. Examine these networking
truths. Start saving yourself time and focus your networking effort.
Networking has gotten a bad name. Ever visit one of those networking events?
You're told, "Arrive with a pocketful of business cards and don't leave until they're all gone." Do you get so
desperate to escape that you stuff the free gift box with a fistful of your cards and take off?
Networking Myth #1:
You must give your card to everyone in the room. If people aren't interested
they won't keep your card, let alone call you.
It is more important to get business cards than to hand yours out. After you
identify a prospect, ask for their card. Mark the ones that are important to you. When you have their card you
control the contact. Add the names and contact information to your database and follow up.
Networking Myth #2:
Networking is selling. The term network marketing confuses people. It is
meant to. Network marketing, also known as MLM, or Multi-Level Marketing, generates sales through a vast layered
network of product representatives. Each of these representatives is given incentive to recruit still more
committed reps. MLM sales pitches can come across as vague and evasive.
Networking is marketing. When you network you are building a network - hence
the term - of people who know about you and your product. They might buy from you or help you. Networking is a
long-term strategy, not a quick-sell scheme.
Networking Myth #3:
Networking is telling your story Watch out for Power Networkers who, full of
bluster, talk at you. They condescend and announce, in effect, "You must be stupid not to buy my product. If you
order now, you'll get the network special discount."
Networking is communicating. Listen more than you talk. Remember the simple
formula: two ears, one mouth. Use them in correct proportion. Get your message into a 30-second format. Open with a
question, appeal to your listeners' self-interest, and end with a call to action. Whey you talk, observe their
interest level. When their eyes glaze over, it's time to move along. Thank them and walk away. But if they show
interest, ask them questions. "Do you see a way that this service might help you or someone you know?" Ask about
their business, their most nagging problem, their greatest achievement, their next challenge, their best advice, or
their newest idea. Listen to the answers. You will learn more by listening.
Networking Myth #4:
Networking ends when you walk out the door. Don't make the mistake of
breathing a sigh of relief as you walk out the door of the networking event and think, "Well that's my networking
done for another month."
Networking is about building and maintaining relationships. Record the names
in your database. When you walk out that door you begin the next stage of networking. Follow up with a phone call,
an e-mail message, regular mail, or a meeting over coffee or lunch. Maintain your contacts.
Networking Myth #5:
Send them information only about your products. If all you do is mail
brochures, then all you are doing is advertising. It's okay to advertise, and a mailing is good; but a mailing list
is not a network. If you want to build a relationship, you must send something that is of value to them.
A network is built by providing something of value. The fuel that keeps your
network alive is helpfulness. How do you help people? If you listen, you will discover their interests. Send them
an article that might interest them, recommend a book, compliment them when they do something wonderful - or better
still, give them a hot lead. It's okay to send them your brochure, but do more than that. Most importantly, do
things without expecting tit-for-tat. If you nurture your network and help others, eventually you will reap your
Remember the Bamboo Networking is like planting bamboo. You seldom see
immediate benefits. When you plant and cultivate bamboo, you do a lot of work over the first seven years, but see
little growth. Bamboo only grows about 12 inches - in the first seven years! Then after the seventh year they
shoot up to be six feet tall.
Imagine if bamboo farmers gave up in the sixth year - or before. Imagine if
you cultivate your network and give up too soon. Networking is about systematically and patiently cultivating
relationships to grow your business or your career. It takes time. Enjoy the harvest.
© George Torok is the author of
“Your Guide to Networking Success”. He is the co-author of the national bestseller, “Secrets of Power
Marketing”, the first guide to personal marketing for the non-marketer. As host of the weekly radio show he
has interviewed over 400 business leaders. Order your copy of “Your Guide to Networking Success” at http://www.business-networking-tips.net/