The Keys to Networking
When you tell many business owner’s “the key to success is developing a personal and professional network” they often smile, acknowledge the concept without having a clue what that really means. Let me explain it in a different way.
Would you hand over your car keys to a perfect stranger? Of course not.
Now, instead of a key to your car, imagine you have a key that opens the door to an important relationship with a colleague that another person would like to connect with. Let’s say you hold that key to their relationship but you don’t really know the person
who is asking for it. Would you give them the key? I hope not because when you give a referral, you give away a piece of your reputation. If you give a bad referral, it hurts you and your reputation.
Hopefully you don’t hand over to just anybody. Unfortunately, when networking, many people expect perfect strangers to hand over their key right away. Effective networking doesn’t work like that.
I’ve seen many people who think networking is all about meeting people and asking for their business right then and there. They meet someone and proceed to tell them what how great their product or services really is. That would be like saying: “Hi my name is Jeff, will you give me your car keys.”
Effective networking is about building relationships with others who you can feel confident to refer to your best friend. At the point where you can trust them and they can trust you, real business can occur.
When you get to the place where you can hand over your set of keys, without hesitation, you’ll be in the best place possible to begin asking for the keys to their personal relationships.