Many people will ask me, "Chris, how do you network and get inside so many circles of influence?"
My response is, "I don't network."
The real key to networking is to NOT network! Instead, focus on building real, authentic, long lasting relationships with people.
In other words, become a real friend, not a short-term, scarcity-driven, self-serving salesperson (that's a lot of S's, huh?)
Aren't you sick and tired of those networking events where people only talk to you because they want to do business with you?
Isn't it annoying that they keep throwing business cards at you so fast that you can't even remember who that person was?
And we all know THAT PERSON who comes off so desperate for our business that we purposely go to the other side of the room because they stink of "business breath?"
I am too!
I tend to avoid those people who come at me like they are some used car salesperson trying to get me to buy a lemon. The sad thing is they probably offer a very valuable product or service, but their demeanor repels the very people that could be serving them the most!
That is the kind of networking that I don't like. Being scarcity-driven and desperate to do business will only make that person work harder for little results.
Wouldn't it be nice to work less but see more results?
Imagine how much easier business would be if people want to refer others to you because your reputation precedes you.
Then keep reading....
When I first launched my company, Money Ripples, I had a non-compete that didn't allow me to approach my hundreds of raving fans/clients where I had saved millions of dollars. I had to start over. However, I have learned from experience that the surest way to building my business is thru meaningful relationships.
From the first day on, I began seeking out people that either I knew personally, or from a good reputation, that were doing creating value in their businesses. I specifically began asking in women's networks first. I began Facebook messaging those people and I asked to treat them to lunch (My invite, my treat).
Here's the real secret sauce!
When I invite someone out to lunch, I want to get to know them, first and foremost, as a real person. And secondly, I want to know more about their business and why they do it. I want to hear about how they started, how they feel about it, their fears and concerns, and where they need to be served. I ultimately want to know how I, or someone I know, can serve them.
I spend very little time talking about me. That will likely happen over time anyways. I want people to KNOW that I want to be a friend first, and a business relationship second. This doesn't always produce overnight results. I didn't get a single referred client for a few months. I still had to do my own marketing and sales efforts. BUT, when it started coming in, it came in fast!
I did my first 2 day event 6 months later and I was surprised how many people wanted to help me promote it. I met people I had never met before. Pretty soon, I would attend someone else's event, and someone would approach me and say, "I keep hearing great things about you from everyone. What do you do?" We all know that when they say "everyone," it was probably 2-3 people. But that's enough for me.
What's even better about going out to lunch, going for hikes or a run, or just getting our families together is that it creates something that real and worthwhile. It's genuine and true. It creates trust, and when someone asks them, "Who do you know that does ____?" they will mention your name.
Business isn't about knowing lots of people. Business is done when you build quality relationships where they know, like, and trust you.
So the next time you go to a networking event, don't just hand out your card. Just focus on getting to know 2 or 3 people better, and see if you can get to know them outside of the networking groups.
It's about quality and depth of relationships, not quantity!