Updated: Nov 15, 2022
I’m not a big fan of transactional business networking, you know, when you’re in a big room and people are scurrying around handing you their business cards and sizing you up in a half minute deciding if they can make a sale.
I am, however, a big fan of creating deep personal connections with people. For an introvert it’s a much easier way to transact business plus, I find it pure and authentic. A personal value that is very important to me. I call these two ways of networking prospecting vs partnering. Prospecting is deciding who in the room you can make money from, turn a sale, close quickly. It may include methods like cold calling, direct messaging, social selling, and lots of “shouting” on social media to help you generate more leads. You show up on every zoom networking meeting with your canned 30 second speech and hope to tell everyone what you do and what you are selling. It’s a numbers game to make your quota.
Partnering on the other hand is a long-term commitment. It’s slower, more deliberate. It’s not pre-judging the person you are meeting but taking the time for a conversation and learning how you can help them, if you can help them, without attachment to the outcome. In other words, the relationship isn’t discarded if you can’t make a quick sale. Many times, at our meet and greets I remind attendees not to judge who they should meet but rather take the time to meet every single person who shows up. To exchange information and have those deeper one-on-ones later in the week. Business happens in conversations. When you take the time to know more about another person and that person knows more about you, you are connecting as a human and not as a salesperson. You go a layer deeper to find the information that matters to them like where they live, what they enjoy, their favorite sports team, if they have kids or not, what are some other hobbies or pastimes. This type of connection leads to deeper conversations and a sharing of information because you build trust and a genuine relationship. During the lockdown of 2020 many of us experienced the reality of who our real relationships were with and who mattered when humans had little contact. Many of our “friends” of whom we thought we were close with, we didn't stay much in touch with during that time. Maybe some distant relationships developed into stronger relationships over that time too. For me I made some of the strongest business relationships and friendships I’ve ever had (and still have today) because I had the time to do it and we all had the common thread of the lockdown. It was fun to learn what life was like all around the world as we experienced the same personal and professional changes. Dale Carnegie in his book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” reminds us of the importance of relationship building. Although there were many, my favorite points are:
Don't Criticize, Condemn or Complain.
Give Honest, Sincere, Appreciation.
Arouse In the Other Person An Eager Want.
Become Genuinely Interested in Other People.
If you are a mission-driven, conscious, or soul-aligned business owner like me, there’s likely a why behind what you do. Tell your story and ask the next person for their story. You’ll be amazed at what you learn and how well you connect in a professional community. It’s in these deeper conversations you find someone’s WHY. Then you know what’s in their heart and how you can help them, even if it's an article on their favorite food or a connection to another practitioner. Helping another person get what they need is just as important as you asking for that sale.