Networking is a two way street and your side of the street is not about you. It is about finding out how to help others out. Simply put, the more you give, the more you get! No one epitomizes this more than my friend “Brian”. “Brian” is a financial planner for a large international firm. (I’m going to avoid mentioning his real name and his firm’s name because compliance departments in financial advisory firms can be a pain in the butt!) He is a few years younger than me and has done nothing but impress me since the day I met him. He runs a local strategic alliance group which I was invited to a number of years ago and I still attend. He uses the group to position himself to the other members so they can refer him well.
Brian is a referral machine. I have never seen anyone try so hard to try to refer people to others. The people in his circle of friends, myself included, benefit tremendously from Brian’s efforts. He completely gets it. He knows that if he goes out of his way to help you out then the law of reciprocity is going to be in place where you feel like that you should return the favor. Why wouldn’t I? He has sent me some wonderful referrals over the years, his company included, that were always great customers of Just Dine In, the food delivery company I owned
He will take time about once a quarter to meet, one on one, with all twenty or so members of the group. He doesn’t stop trying to find different ways to refer his trusted people. In addition to that, as a client of his now, he calls me quarterly to check that I am satisfied with my portfolio. My portfolio is very simple and he knows that mine is a long-term plan and no changes will be needed for some time. But, Brian checks every quarter and offers to buy me a cup of coffee to make sure that he is serving me properly. If there were more Brians in this world, business would be easy!
I’m sick and tired of meeting people at networking events that are only in it for them. Some people go to networking events to see how many people they can give their business card to. They have in their mind that if they gave me their business card, I will want to do business with them. This has nothing to do with it. I do business with, and refer business to, people I like, know and trust. Most people are like this. If you are this person, first, stop! It usually goes like this:
- We met at a networking event
- We spoke for three seconds
- You then darted off to meet someone else as fast as possible while I watched you draw your business card faster than a cop draws his gun when he is threatened by a violent criminal
Here’s the deal good buddy. I’m not going to follow up with you. You’re not memorable. (well not in a good way, I should say) Networking is about taking the time to get to know other people in the community. Make it about them not you – you will be much better served.
Karma. Then there’s this word. Not just at networking events but at most things in life, there’s the theory of Karma. If you do good unto others, others will do good unto you. “Give to Get” falls under this principle, although it’s not really a conditional concept. What I mean by this is that you shouldn’t give just so you can get. If you do this, then you have some of the wrong intentions. The right way to word this would be , “If You Give More, You will Get More!”
Try it. I think you will be pleasantly surprised.. And you will feel good about yourself!