I run a marketing services firm in OC CA and have always used networking as my primary New Business Development tool.
Here are some of my thoughts on the ABC’s of networking.
First of all networkers aren’t created equally.
There are three kinds of people that you can put in A, B, or C Folders in your brain.
First there are the A Networkers. These are the connectors. I am a connector. You will know them when you meet them. They respond to you by saying things like, “You know where you should go or I’ve got a friend you should meet.” If you meet with them they come prepared. They have checked out your site or your Linkedin Profile. They are ignited by connecting you to other people and keeping your networking tree alive. These are the people you should put into your A Folder. These are the people that follow up from a networking meeting by connecting you to other people. You should make these people your networking priority and invest the majority of your networking time with them.
Then there are the B Networkers. These people are on the bubble. They could have merit but you aren’t sure. Spend some discovery time with them. Follow up and send them something that could be helpful to them to see if they can be a good contact. You have to remember that all people can’t be networking A’s. I have met many great people who weren’t great at networking but were great connectors if you could bring it out of them. If they are people that know the concept of play it forward then stay involved with them.
And lastly there are the C Networkers. These are the clueless ones. Oh they can think they are great networkers but they aren’t connected with anyone except themselves. You meet them for the first time and they ask you “Who are your clients? Or I have a great product that might be of interest to your clients.” Or they can be the people on Linkedin that are in your network but you really don’t know well asking you to introduce a stranger to a connection you know well. They just don’t get it.
To have people really help you, you need to develop the social currency of networking which is helping people first and prospering later. Hard in these times when we need more immediate gratification. Harder yet if we have only met C Networkers in our journey.
In the end my networking learning for the latter half of 2010 is the following.
Focus 75% of your energy on the A Networkers or the Connectors.
Spend 20% of your time on the B Networker or those on the bubble.
Spend 5% of your time mentoring the C Networkers. Or maybe better yet take a yoga class.
You can connect with Hank on Linkedin
Watch a YouTube Video talking about The Power of Networking.
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Watch some other videos on http://www.youtube.com/user/MrHankblank