In Networking, it’s Better to be a Farmer
Real networking is about BUILDING real relationships. Online and Offline
Networking is about farming for contacts, not hunting them.
Many business people go about networking the way our cave-dwelling ancestors went about hunting food–aggressively and carrying a big stick.
You’ll see them at any gathering of businesspeople. They’re so busy looking for the next big sale or trying to meet the “right” prospect that they approach networking simply as an exercise in sifting through crowds of people until they bag the ideal client, the big customer who can turn their business around.
They don’t take the time for “regular people” they’re stalking the CEO, or other high-octane connection, looking for the big kill.
Farmers take a different approach. They don’t waste time looking for the right person; instead, like those who plant seeds and patiently nurture their crops, they seek to form and build relationships wherever they can find them.
If they get an immediate payoff, that’s fine, but it’s not their principal goal. They know that the effort expended upfront will pay off in a rich harvest later on–much richer then the hunter’s quick kill–and that truly profitable relationships can’t be rushed.
You easily spot the novice at a networking meetup. The novice networker can pull out a business card faster than a Wild West gun slinger. They don’t really seem to be listening to others. The novice networker runs from person to person spamming business cards. They do that once or twice and then say, “That networking stuff just does not work”. An Online novice is just as easy to spot except the online novice jumps right into the SPAM.
It’s easy to fall into the trap of hunting for the contact that’s ready to buy right now. Relationship networking is about consistency and reliability; consistently meeting new people and reliably following up with the folks you have met. It’s about developing relationships with referral partners who can provide a steady stream of income far into the future- the opposite of the fast hit.
Don’t EVER Give Up… Just like anything else worthwhile in life.
Real networking is all about relationship building, and that takes time!
The investment payoff will come over time and in many ways.
The most common causes of failure is the habit of quitting when you are overtaken by temporary defeat.
While you are building relationships and patiently nurturing your crops, there are many great benefits along the way.
A really good networking group provides a business education that is not taught in school. I am always learning lots of really great and useful things from my networking brothers and sisters. I learn things about life, living, real estate, technology, marketing and the list goes on and on.
I am always looking to sharpen my skills and I use meetings to practice. I am always learning how to become a better farmer.
Some of my closest and dearest friends have come from networking. Networking when done right really enriches you in many ways.