I was fortunate to be invited along to the Brunel MBA class last week to hear Andy Lopata give a talk on networking.
He covered all the basics – on line vs off line, givers gain – what do you look for when you go networking anyway etc etc.
Then he told us something that makes perfect sense but to be honest I’d never thought about it in quite that way. We all know that if you go in with a hard sell you’ll get no-where but Andy went to completely the other extreme.
Once you’ve made contact with someone are in conversation with them about what they need – take yourself out of the equation. Just think of who is the individual that you know that will be best able to fix their issue and introduce them. We all do this a bit passively but I thought that the combination of active listening with removing the self from the picture could be pretty powerful.
If it works for them it creates a sense of obligation – because human relationships are basically reciprocal. Get enough of these you create enough suction that you start attracting referrals of your own. Thomas Power of Ecademy has even quantified this – 10 gives = 1 receive. If you cover half a dozen people seriously each time you go networking you should soon start to get a few prospects. The trick then is to work out how many you need.
We’ll cover more of that next time