The New Networkers

Posted on July 17, 2012

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Networking has long been understood as an activity to find prospects and make sales. The emphasis has been to meet as many people as possible, exchange business cards and set up appointments to “sell” your services. Today, this type of networker is nauseating.

The new way to network is to Connect. Connect with people and Connect people to the resources they need.

Networking is not just about sales, it’s about people. It’s caring for people. It’s about meeting needs. It’s about giving. This is the way of the New Networker

The New Networker is appealing. Patrick Lencioni in Getting Naked writes, “there is nothing more attractive and admirable than people who willingly and cheerfully set their egos aside and make the needs of others more important than their own.” Though he writes about giving consulting services away on a sales call instead of driving for a sale, his coaching naturally fits the New Networker.

Lencioni stresses how the consultant begins to serve the prospect as though they were already a client instead of telling the would-be client about all the great services they would provide once they sign on the dotted line. He encourages the consultant to “go into the sales meeting with the idea that I’m going to find a way to help them in some meaningful way.” Then he adds,
“It is in your best interest to show them that you are more focused on helping them than you are in maximizing your short-term revenue.”

Robert S. Littell offers a similar model. In his book, The Heart and Art of NetWeaving, he starts Chapter 1 with these words:

NetWeaving is the “Golden Rule” form of networking which focuses on helping others first, or at least putting others’ needs, problems and opportunities on a more equal plane with those of our own; doing so with the belief and conviction that, over time, “what goes around, will come back around.”

Lencioni and Littell share a belief that the givers will be the receivers. Give wise counsel. Give resources. Give expertise. Give, give, give, and you will receive.

Networkers can be separated into two camps. In one camp there are networkers you want to know. They are givers. They are problem solvers. They are genuine. They are the New Networkers. In the other camp are the networkers you want to avoid. They are selfish and users and abusers of encounters. They are the Networkers of Yesterday.

Networkers You Want to Know

Networkers You Want to Avoid

Give value Take and rarely give
Focus on helping others first (heart) Focus on themselves
Solve Problems Are interested only in their sales
Listen Engage in superficial conversation
Establish trust Meet and forget
Come across genuinely interested Focus on immediate success
Follow through May follow up
Engage in meaningful conversation Graze for leads
Produce strategic matches by connecting Don’t go out of their way to help
Provide resources Provide their business card 

It is not difficult to know which group we would rather be in. The question is, “Where would others say we fit?”

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Posted in: Communication