If we want to get ahead, the traditional definition of networking just does not accomplish what is needed in this competitive world.
Accessing the power elite who can get you funding, get you in front of your target market, bring you a business deal or invite you to the events influencers hang out starts with recognising one critical fact:
Traditional networking is no longer enough
Here are the 5 critical mistakes I see people make when they try to network:
1. They network in the wrong places for the connections they need
Handing out business cards to the wrong people will get you nowhere.
Taking action in the wrong networking group which is simply a waste of time and energy. Networking help only succeeds if you are looking for help in all the right places.
2. They network at the wrong level for their goals
I have been guilty of this. Rather than networking at higher levels of expertise I need to grow my business I have hung around those networking groups that have the same level of expertise as me. On occasion I have found people who want to network with me for the goals they want to reach but can’t introduce me to the right people I need.
3. They have no way to assess the value of the connections they make
Most people have the ability through Linked In or Social Media to access hundreds of online connections but fail to connect the dots and figure out which connections can provide the greatest benefits. Yes, you never know whether what assistance the next connection you meet could bring you but you must be able to identify it and what assistance you can give in return.
4. They have no system for optimizing their networking efforts
Are you the person who feels they network well and return from events with a fistful of business cards only to return and throw them in the drawer? Never following up? Not categorising them? Then it’s obvious there is no system therefore no strategy in place. Sometimes I don’t get why I continue to get invited to events where I have already told the person inviting me my target market I can help to get things done is not there.
5. They fail to network in the best way and create high value long term connections
For example, they ask for what they need too soon, before having built relationships. People are not going to help you until they know, like and trust you. Asking for something big too soon or trying to convince someone you have just met they need your service or product without first finding out more about their needs or worse still try to sell in the first instance is a BIG turn off!
The key is NOT the number of contacts you make it is the number of quality relationships you make over time.
So, having considered the above points, do you need to review your Networking abilities?