After completing this lesson, you should be able to:
Recognize the benefits of combining networking with marketing and selling.
Differentiate between strategic and serendipitous networking.
Persuade people to want to do what you want them to do.
Become an irresistible person people would want to help.
Networking is about building relationships before you need them. And you want to build these relationships with people who want you to be successful, safe, and secure — both personally and professionally.
The more people savvy you are, the better your chances of success. The more you let others help you, the greater your success.
Our network is the group of people who want us to be successful, safe, and secure — personally and professionally. It's people who are willing to lend a hand, share an idea, champion our efforts, and, when appropriate, challenge us to reach new heights.
Networking is building relationships before you need them. Then, when you need help, you know people to contact who will be willing and able to help you.
Networking is not about selling anything, getting a job, receiving a donation, or securing funding. Networking is not marketing or selling.
Networking is also not "schmoozing." Schmoozing suggests trying to get something without giving anything. In other words, it's not the mutually beneficial relationships that you build through networking.
Marketing, networking, and selling are interdependent; they are more powerful together than separately. Marketing is the start: it's an integrated campaign of promotion, designed to create awareness.
Networking then narrows the scope. It's a personal connection with people who may want what you have, know others who do, or play a role in the decision.
Selling connects the solution and the problem. When marketing and networking have done what they can do, selling is much easier. It's tempting to skip the networking part and go directly into selling. However, networking is the most efficient way to proceed, to get to decision makers and those who influence them.
Strategic and Serendipitous Networking
There are basically two types of networking — strategic and serendipitous. Strategic networking has a stated purpose and, therefore, a desired outcome. There are results that you want and consequences if you do not get them. You can network strategically at events planned by small business clubs and associations.
Serendipitous networking, in contrast, is an unplanned encounter that leads to a mutually beneficial relationship: no plans and no expectations. This might take place at the grocery store, at the airport, or at the health and fitness club that you belong to.
Strategic networking prepares you for serendipitous networking. When you are confident of your ability to meet people and explore the possible benefits for both parties, you're more open to chance encounters and converting them to mutually beneficial relationships.
You know a lot of people. But time is limited, so you need to make difficult choices about the people you know or could get to know.
Make time for people whom you like and who like you. These are the people who will want to help you and whom you'll want to help. These are your mutually beneficial relationships. Make time for people who make you feel positive, energized, and worthy. They will help sustain you so you can keep networking. Make time for people to whom you can offer value. These people you help — even if they are not helping you.
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