Networking on and offline is critically important to business growth. How we do it impacts how successful we are. A lot of people think networking is about selling. Nothing could be farther from the truth. And those people miss out on potentially valuable relationships.
When people focus on selling, they behave in a way that actually gets them the opposite. These are the people who enter every networking event with the goal of walking away with a client. Interestingly, we all know people like this. And we don’t like dealing with them. The way they communicate telegraphs they are only interested in making a sale.
One of the biggest issues with this approach is that they miss out on relationships that could be really valuable to their business. There are people who could be good referral sources, or partners, or resources.
This is one of the reasons being curious is so valuable. When you approach every networking event as an opportunity to learn something, you are open to the possibilities around who you might meet. Curious people are present and active listeners. They build long-term, meaningful relationships. Those relationships bring them business, insights, resources for their connections, and value.
The curious approach to networking involves starting with a goal of wanting to learn something about 1-2 people. Decide what you want to learn. And it shouldn’t be related to what you sell! What would you want to know about someone that would provide insight into their business, their value, who they are?
Not only will you discover who you want to continue to engage with, but you will uncover who you don’t want to engage with! Both discoveries are critically important to the sustainable success and growth of your business.
Diane Helbig is an international business advisor and trainer. She is the author of “Succeed Without Selling” and the host of the Accelerate Your Business podcast. Learn more at www.helbigenterprises.com or call 888.229.3357.
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