September 14th, 2010 Archive

The Definitive Guide to Wasting Networking Opportunities

September 14th, 2010 by Ric in Lifestyle

We’ve discussed how networking is both a skillset and a mindset, but we’re not done with that topic yet. You see, the “father of modern networking,” Dr. Ivan Misner,  has given us a ton of useful information on the subject, and I’d like to share a few more of his ideas with you.

This time around, we’re focusing on the things you do not want to do while networking. Think of this as the a guide to wasting networking opportunities. He shares some Networking Faux Pas on Small Business CEO Magazine, and tackles the Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group over at Healthy Wealthy n Wise.

First let’s go over the faux pas. A faux pas, literally translated, is a false step or misstep – and it usually refers to a violation of etiquette or social norms. The following are some networking faux pas you definitely want to avoid:

1.  Not responding quickly to referral partners

It is very important that you treat your networking partners like you would all of your best clients, and this includes responding to them in a timely manner. Making a referral partner wait for your call sends them a message about your credibility and reliability, and it probably isn’t a good one.

2.  Confusing networking with direct selling

We’ve covered the Farming Mentality mindset in the past, highlighting the need to cultivate relationships with potential clients, referrers, and partners – this is the exact opposite of that. The people you meet networking functions are not just prospects, and the business cards you collect from them are not fodder for your distribution lists. Networking is more than just collecting contact information – it’s about building relationships.

3.  Abusing the relationship

Ivan shares the story of a woman who was invited to an associate’s birthday party. She decided to attend, but found that “the ‘party goers’ were being recruited for a business opportunity.” It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out how these ‘party goers’ felt.

The last thing you want to do with a networking partner, or any other person for that matter, is to betray their trust. Networking, as we keep saying, is about building relationships – and trust is one of the foundations of a good relationship.

Like I mentioned, I also want to share Ivan’s Top 10 Ways to Waste Your Time in a Networking Group. Ivan’s list has such a wonderful flow to it, so I’ll save my comments for the end. Now let’s get straight to the time-wasting tactics:

10. Go ahead, air your grievances among your fellow networkers and guests; after all, they really want to      hear about your complaints.

9.   Wing it in your regular presentations to fellow members, you’ve got plenty more chances anyway.

8.   Use 1 to 1 meetings to talk about your networking groups’ issues instead of learning a lot more about each other.

7.   Focus your efforts on selling your services primarily to the members of the group.

6.   Don’t rush to follow up on a referral when someone gives you one. Hey, they know where to find you ifthey really need you… right?

5.   While other people are doing their introductions, that’s the perfect time to think about what referrals you can give that week.

4.   Why invite your own guests? Just focus on those who show up.

3.   Don’t worry if you get to the meeting late. No one will notice.

2.   Be absent, it’s no big deal. You can just call in your referrals… right?

and the #1 way to waste your time in networking groups…

1.   It’s OK, take that phone call or text message during a meeting, it won’t bother anyone and it’s a real sign of professionalism that everyone admires.

I think Ivan has come up with some fantastic ways to waste networking opportunities.  I personally love numbers 3 and 1 – it’s just so empowering to make people wait for you or show them how busy and important you are. I also love number 7 – networking is all about getting new customers, right?

That rounds out our guide to wasting networking opportunities. If you think we missed anything, or if you have your own stories about wasted or botched up networking opportunities, share them with us in the comments.

Again, happy networking!
Ric


Image by: Ambro / FreeDigitalPhotos.net