There are many old adages attached to networking and how it can help you to thrive in life and business, including:
#1 Your network is your net worth
Because the people in your network can help seed, invest or support your business ideas. They can also refer clients to you, recommend you for business advancing opportunities and so on.
#2 You are the sum total of the 5 people that you surround yourself with
As the people in your network help expand your ideas about what is possible for you (financially and otherwise), especially if they’re doing better than you in that area.
#3 People only do business with people that they know, like and trust
Meaning: to have a profitable business you must learn how to build and leverage profitable business relationships.
In other words,
Networking is one of the best ways to increase your authority, your bank account and- most importantly- your impact.
That’s your impact or your “why”
However, networking is an art that not everybody gets right. Here are 3 things to avoid to ensure that you do:
My friend and mentor, Indira “The Sales Slayer” Pierrot, puts it this way. We all have that friend or family member that only seems to call us when they need something from us. Or maybe you’ve been in a situation where you’ve been dating someone and they ask for too much too soon. How do they make you feel?
If you’re anything like me, then it’s annoyed, used, guarded and like you want to avoid them!
What about when your best friend calls and asks for something- or your favourite cousin? It’s totally different, right?
That’s because you have a positive relationship with them that has been built up over time. As a result of that long term investment, you now feel enough love and goodwill towards them to support them in whatever way you can.
This is a mistake that I see people make in their business relationships all the time, too. For example, they:
In other words, they fail to understand that:
Building profitable relationships is a marathon or long term investment; so it’s best to start building relationships before you need (to leverage) them.
This leads nicely into points 2 and 3:
The key take-away from my example, above, is that:
Building relationships before you need them essentially comes down to being a good friend!
To summarise the principles that my friend, Monique Melton, shares in her book (EntrepreFriendships):
Marketing is all about building relationships- and meaningful relationships start and last with a genuine commitment to support and serve others.
In other words, the key to building profitable business relationships is to be an asset.
Although born and bred in London (UK), my heritage is Nigerian. There’s a saying in Nigerian pidgin (or broken) English that goes:
“Monkey dey work; baboon dey chop”
This essentially translates as “although the monkey is doing all the work, the baboon is reaping all the fruits of their labour”.
In terms of building profitable relationships, part of the reason that people like the ones in the example I gave in point #1 are such a turn off is because they act just like the baboons in my analogy- entitled. Without building relationships with people before you need them, by being an asset to their life and business, you are in danger of doing the same!
You also want to make sure that when you do shoot your shot (i.e. ask them to help you achieve your goals), you make them an offer they can’t refuse!
This means talking about what’s in it for them (rather than all about you!) and making sure that each pitch or proposal is mutually beneficial so that everybody wins.
Now what about you? Have you made any of these mistakes?
It’s totally not your fault! You were probably following some bad advice you’d gotten somewhere along the way.
I’d like to help you to avoid making these mistakes in the future; so here’s another action step:
Think about one mistake that you can stop making from today that will help you to reach your goals.