When COVID hit, I struggled with Networking in the virtual world. The old ways of ‘press the flesh’ and ’60 second sound bites’ fell completely flat. I could see how precious little was resonating in the zoom rooms because simply migrating stale practices to a virtual environment is ineffective on so many levels.
I needed some time to figure out how to make it work. Here are some of the ideas I finally figured out.
First, the obvious …
Yes, there is much more work now — to be done by everyone interested in Networking. And it is not just about tossing out a virtual business card. And yes, you must, must, must engage in more follow up. Yourself. And yes, you can do all that on a new zoom appt. or a phone call.
However, to be effective, to get remembered or just stay top of mind, the rules have changed. To win business in these crazy times, we all must do things differently.
In school and during our careers, we spent all our time focusing on the ME side of life. In the process, we paid precious little time focussing on WE. As a result, most people when Networking, talk about themselves, their brains, their products and services and their own experiences and stories.
A few ‘enlightened’ folks talk about how they believe first in forging relationships. Still, in too many cases, that is just sugar-coating because while they will make nice for a few minutes, as soon as they can, they will direct the conversation back to what they sell.
The way that works best, the idea that has worked brilliantly for years, is based on the premise of who you know. Most of us immediately think about the uber-rich and uber-successful and decide only those born to that world of ‘who you know’ hold the upper hand.
Here is a shocking fact. YOU hold the power personally to define who you want to know. YOU hold the personal ability to be uber-successful.
Start by changing your thinking.
Work WITH people. NOT alone anymore. WITH people.
What this means is you move your Networking thoughts from WHAT it is you sell to WHO it is you sell to. Then you find people who sell to precisely the same crowd as you do. This means you put yourself in the position to HELP those people get what they want. So that in return, what you want comes back to you.
For example, if you service the B2B world, and most of the people in your Networking group services the B2C crowd, why are you staying in that group? It is of very little use to you.
However, when you find a group that services the B2B world, you can then Network with the people who serve the same kinds of prospects and clients you do. Seek them out AFTER that first group meeting. And ask them to describe for you exactly what they are seeking.
Most people want one of four things.
They want to give back. They want critical relationships. Professional growth. And/or sustainable health and wellness.
Decide for yourself what piece of you you can give away to help them get what they want. Then move heaven and earth to give it to them with absolutely no expectation for them to do anything in return.
That give-away piece with no expectation of anything in return is the hardest for us all. Give. Give freely. And want nothing for it. YET, that one piece wins every time. Karma always comes back—one hundredfold in ways you least expect it. And rarely from the person to whom you gave freely.
So, let me ask you …
Who do you know operates in the same market space that you do? What can you do for that person or group of persons to help them reach what they want? What can you do for them to help them look good? Start there and watch the efforts of your new Networking take off. Feel like chatting about this? Go here.
To Your Success!