Are You a ‘hunter’ or a ‘farmer’ When Networking?
Networking is such a loose term for most people and business owners usually don’t know how to make the most out of the networking opportunities available to them.
Instead, they end up just going to events and not getting the results they are looking for. The problem starts with not knowing why you are actually going to the networking event – what you want to achieve as a result of attending. Great networkers understand that the purpose of networking is to grow their network and form opportunities, not to ‘sell’ to the people who are there.
Networking is about making new connections, creating new opportunities, finding ways to create win-wins with other people and building long lasting partnerships. No matter what sort of networking event you attend, whether it is structured or casual, whether you attend weekly, monthly or hardly ever, you need to ask yourself, “Why am I going?”
If the reason you are going to networking events is to get new business, then you are missing out on so many more opportunities, and you will never get the real amount of business available. That is because you have the wrong focus from the outset.
Let me ask you, “Do you go to networking events to ‘buy’ from other people?”
It starts with your mindset; you’re either a ‘hunter’ or a ‘farmer’.
A ‘hunter’ is only interested in themselves; it is all about them, they are really interested in how they can win and not really concerned with the other person. They will probably make a sale or two, but will always have to fight and fight to get more sales. We’ve all met this person at an event before, right?
The ‘farmer’, on the other hand, understands the importance of planting the seeds, ploughing the crops, nurturing the relationship and finding new opportunities where others would have never looked. The ‘farmer’ knows it’s about the long term and not short term.
Does being a ‘farmer’ take more effort? You bet, but the rewards and growth in your business are definitely worth that little more effort.
When asked what makes you successful at networking I can summarise it in 5 main points:
1. Be the first to ask the other person about them.
I always use the phrase, “Tell me more about you”. When doing this, I want to find out about that person personally as much as business, as this will tell me more about the other person and what, if anything we can do together.
2. Start leveraging.
I’m always thinking collaboration: how do we share networks, get each other more exposure and create new opportunities for one another?
3. I never want to leave a conversation without there being a plan in place.
At worst, I believe everyone can at least make a connection for one another. Think how could you promote one another, share networks, pass referrals or simply share connections?
4. I always want to find five to six people from each event that are worth following up.
With these five to six people I organise to talk to them more in depth about how we can help one another.
5. I never add people to our database or send them newsletters unless they request it.
This is the fastest way to lose credibility and ensure you never get loads of opportunities.
If you are going to put in the time to go networking, then you might as well do it right and get the most opportunities out of it as you can. Just some small little changes can go a long way to better results.
“The opinions expressed by Smallville Contributors are their own, not those of www.smallville.com.au"
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