Business Networking is about helping others.
So what is a business networking theft?
Discover how you can rehabilitate a naughty networker
You were a new networker once and you’ve learned valuable tips from others that were more experienced. Here’s an example of how you can spot a networking theft, why someone else’s networking “crime” may affect you and how you can help rehabilitate them.
Imagine meeting someone when networking who doesn’t know who they want to meet or who they can introduce you to. They might try and sell directly to you or say they want to meet anybody, somebody or everybody (pick from “that wants a cheaper mortgage” or “that needs to increase their income” or “that would like to grow their business”). You probably want to help them yet you can’t because your contact book is not divided into anybody’s, somebody’s or everybody’s. How many times a week do people tell you they need to increase their income? I’m sure it’s not many, yet this is something that most people want. It may be considered intrusive to ask such a direct question.
If a networker gets frustrated when you try and ask them to be specific it may be because they think that their service is required by most people they meet. They might even be right – a lot of people want all three of the above. But you might not be networking to look for services or you may have only just commenced a contract with people that do what they do. You don’t have time to ask everyone you meet if they want the things mentioned at events.
This frustration happens quite often at large networking events because there are lots of people starting their networking journey – we all started somewhere so it’s forgiveable – this isn’t the theft, it’s more of an inoccent mistake. Perhaps naughty if repeated by an experienced networker.
The moral theft is usually committed around a table where the only weapons might be a knife and fork or awful coffee. Imagine a business networking group where everyone has paid a membership fee and agreed that they’re committed to helping others in the group generate more business and happy to accept introductions in return. If you’ve ever been to one of these groups you’ve probably witnessed a networking theft, yet you might not realise what’s happening because it’s not immediately obvious.
What are networkers doing that is so wrong? If they’re not preparing for the event and not asking for introductions to specific people they can only be hurting themselves, right? Wrong!
If they’re asking to be introduced to anybody, somebody or everybody surely the only person to suffer from a lack of quality introductions is themself? Wrong! Wrong and so wrong it should be classed as a networking crime.
There are people in business networking groups taking up space that could be used by someone that prepares properly and knows what they’re looking for. If they had prepared they could spend time listening to the requests from the rest of the group. The guilty will not see themselves as naughty networkers and the usual remedy is to leave them to their own devices. Does that help anyone? I don’t think it does as members will leave if they are not receiving what they ask for.
Here are three reasons why this will end up affecting the individual members and the group as a whole.
1; Naughty networkers are not listening to others that are asking for help because they’re too busy thinking about what they’re going to say. If networkers don’t listen, how can they keep their promise to help others? Imagine if no-one in a group heard what anyone else asked for. The group would lack introductions.
2; They may also be blocking well connected business people from joining the group because they are “competition”. They don’t realise that the “competition” are able to bring everyone qualified leads. The “competition” might get asked for your service all the time yet they have no-one they know well enough to introduce.
3; Some networkers only joined a group on the condition that they could take two places, which is fine when they bring the amount of referrals two people would. But what if they don’t! The referral count isn’t as high as it could be. I’m not saying that they are not nice people – but should they really have made a commitment they have no intention of keeping?
So how do you spot a naughty networker at a business networking event? There are good indicators; no pen, no notepaper yet plenty of cards, oh yes, hundreds of the little devils.
How do you avoid meeting one? You probably can’t yet you can help rehabilitate them by asking them what sort of introductions they want, then explaining that you are unlikely to find any for them if they are not specific. Give them an example of how asking for something specific worked for you. They may even thank you for helping them out. You can also encourage them to allow someone else to take one of their places if they have more than one. This can be achieved if you ask them to help choose the right person.
Wrap up; Not everyone “gets it” straight away so lead by example – prepare and ask for someone or something specific when the opportunity arises, you’ll be amazed what happens. When others see how successful you are at generating qualified introductions for yourself they might ask how you do it. That’s when you get the opportunity to help others by suggesting they do the same.
Tip for today; always have a spare pen so others can write down what you’re looking for.
Next week; Groups can be great for generating a consistent flow of business. How do you ensure you are in the one that suits you?
Beyond Networking is a networking results company. It will take five minutes to determine if anything they do will save you time and effort when networking and improve your results.
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