Networking Isn’t A One Night Stand

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I have been networking for many years.  I also speak on networking to companies and organizations across the country.

Often when I attend events I wonder why people who are on Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin and have Smart phones approach networking events as if they were in the Stone Age.

Most people still want the quick fix. They think that going to a networking event is like going to the singles bar. Business isn’t built from one night stands but by building relationships.  That is lost on many people because they don’t understand networking at all.

Networking isn’t about going to an event.  Networking is about you having an attitude of engagement and building relationships. I often go to events and meet people.  I will get an e mail from them the next day asking me to keep them in mind for future photography, printing, whatever it may be…. projects. You really have to work harder these days. Should I tell the photographer I have worked with for years that our relationship is over?

Start by offering ways to help the other person first. If you connect on Linkedin send them a link to a great link on how to maximize Linkedin.  Provide people with added value first before selling your stuff.

Had a networking coffee recently with a person that I met when I presented to a local OC group.  I thought it was a great group because it had structure and a plan of action to build networking steps for people in transition. Structure is important for people who are launched into transition from jobs that had a routine to a life. He told me that the attendees at the event are often different.

Yes people tend to go to an event once and then move on.  Like a one night stand where they are looking for the quick hit or score.  Networking doesn’t work like that.  Networking isn’t like going to the singles bar.

I have spoken at Execunet a number of times and have met great people; The Founder of the OC and San Diego Chapter, Mark James shared this great thought with me which is so right.  He said, “The networking event you choose NOT to attend – could be the next great job lead you will NEVER get!”

When I built my network I did two things on my journey that turned out to be very effective at building my exposure. Reach and frequency.  That works with traditional media and that works with networking.  Go to a lot of different places and go often.  Effective reach was based on the premise that a commercial didn’t have impact until it was seen three times.  I think the same premise applies in networking.  You have to be seen repeatedly.

That is how your awareness spreads and your word of mouth grows.  If people get to know you then they trust you and become more engaged. That is how you get known.

Networking isn’t about ordering at the short order grill. It is about cultivating, nurturing, being seen, helping first, asking last and building relationships first.  The benefits will follow.

To contact Hank to speak to your company or organization send him an e mail at hank@hankblank.com or Tweet @hankblank You can download Hank’s Guide to Holiday Networking CD’s by visiting his site at www.hankblank.com

 

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6 thoughts on “Networking Isn’t A One Night Stand

  1. Hank,

    Networking seems to have become polluted with rude individuals that do not want to mix, attendees not carrying business cards or do not have LinkedIn profiles, self-promoters, takers, hard sellers and even MLMs. Some are even looking for a significant other.

    Should the organizers be responsible for laying out the ground rules through their invites?

    Deepak

  2. Tracy L. Murray

    Hi Hank,

    You summed it up “Most people still want the quick fix.” We know better, but if there seems to be an easier way, we go for it. Thanks for the reminder that it doesn’t work the easy way!

  3. Hi Hank,

    Thank you for the great article. Networking works best when you can sit across form someone and truly ask ‘how can I help you?’.

    Love your articles.

    Cheers,
    Brigette

  4. Well said. When Hank talks about networking, it pays to listen. I’ve been an independent consultant since 2003 following a 25 year career in corporate marketing where I was a Marketing VP at companies like Jack In The Box, Pearle Vision and Arby’s. Most of my business has coming indirectly through networking. I say indirectly as I don’t go to an event to meet clients. I go to meet people who have a friend, brother/sister, neighbor or relative who may need to grow their business and is open to hiring a marketing consultant. I want to be the person they refer and that doesn’t happen if I try to spend an hour collecting 20 business cards. It happens because we learn about each other and build a relationship of trust that people feel comfortable referring me.

    I’ve gotten more referrals in the past six months than I have received in many years combined. Is it because the economy is getting better? I don’t think so. It is the result of seeds planted a long time ago. I recently started working with a client who I had originally met with in 2006. I’m meeting people this month that may be my referral sources in 2012 or 2013. It’s a long life in a small world.

  5. Great post. It is Networking 101, the hard way. You can certainly use some of the new social tools, but it still takes the good old fashion networking 1 on 1 to get the job done. Networking Like you say, it is not just a One Night Stand. Too many people I know start networking when they need a job and stop once they land somewhere. Networking is a lifetime journey.

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