Networking in business is essential to make money. But does it really work? It all depends on how you define networking. One definition of networking is 'attending business functions and formal or informal meetings to gain potential clients.' Well, that's not really enough. It's only the first step. You need to do more that just turn up, announce who you are and what you do, and collect business cards.
If you do then all you are doing is making a guest appearance and add to your overflowing business card collection. Here is a quick test to see if you are effectively networking. Calculate how many business cards you have in your collection. Now, count how many of those cards have led to a business relationship or sale? If the answer is not very many, then you really are not networking effectively. You are just making meaningless contacts. You need to netWORK.
And effective netWORKing involves selecting those business people with whom you would like to work with. If you jump at every opportunity and are desperate to make money, regardless of ethics, you may end up with the client from hell or people who will not benefit your business. And you may also lose your self -respect. Here are three selection criteria when networking.
1) Respect 2) Trust 3) Confidence
Focus on developing a relationship of respect, trust and confidence between the person and yourself. When you have achieved this then you can work with that person. And you will find by acting in a respectful, trusting and confidential way you will usually attract the same kind of people who you want to be associated with. If a person does not respond in the same way then you politely avoid forming a business relationship.
It is tempting at times to form a relationship with a person who you don't trust because of the lure of potential money. But that is usually fools gold because that person will let you down in the future. If there is no respect, trust or confidence then there is no real relationship. So remember, when you network, make sure you do some real netWORKing.