This is a rebroadcast of Episode 50.
How do you avoid people whose only interest in networking is “What’s in it for me?”
- Look for the signs of people who believe in giving as part of networking:
- They ask how they can help you—and really mean it—before they ask you for anything.
- They show that they’re willing to work on creating a professional relationship over time.
- Those who make the time to go beyond normal business interactions.
- They try to bring business and contacts to you before asking for your contacts.
- They give of their time and knowledge to help their referral sources succeed.
- Immerse yourself in the process of relationship building:
- Join multiple networking groups, so you can have both breadth and depth
- Meet with people frequently and regularly.
- Meet with people outside of networking functions.
Remember: it’s not what you know, or who you know, but how well you know them.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcription of BNI Podcast Episode 050 -
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast which is brought to you by networkingnow.com, the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio, which is a beautiful studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and Chairman of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello Ivan. How are you?
I am doing great, Priscilla. Thank you very much.
Tell us a little bit about this topic, “what’s in it for me?”
“What’s in it for me?” It’s a great lead in to the topic. It’s based on the fact that I recently received an e-mail from someone who read an article that I wrote about collaboration and working together. In his e-mail, he said, “The type of networking that you talk about describes the way that things should work but in the real world, people seem to have an attitude of ‘what’s in it for me?’ How do I prevent this and prevent wasting my time and efforts on people only to find out they have this kind of attitude?”
Well, the short answer to his question is stop hanging out with the wrong kind of people and start actively seeking the right kind of people. Trust me, I’ve been there and I’ve done it. You can really get stuck with the wrong people. In order to move beyond it to build the kind of network that you want, you have to understand that it is a journey not a destination. It’s something that you’re going to be constantly working on. I have two suggestions to help find the networking partners little easier.
Here is the first suggestion and it has about six sub points to it. The first one is look for some of the signs relating to people who fit the profile of good networkers. If you want to stay away from the people who are just thinking “What’s in it for me?”, look for the signs of people who believe in giving as part of their networking, even though they may not know the philosophy of BNI and the givers gain philosophy, they may practice that same kind of idea in their business and in their life.
Here are some things to look for. Look for people who ask how they can help you or what they can offer you and really mean it before they ask you for anything. Very often, you meet people and the very first thing that they want you to do is they want you to buy something or they want you to refer them to someone. Well, that is not a good sign usually. It’s not necessarily a sign you definitely don’t want to do business with them, but it is a flag of the “what’s in it for me?” mentality.
If they open up a conversation with “How can I help you?” or “What can I do to help you?” That is a good sign. None of these are necessarily deal killers from the beginning but they are all series of flags. In the United States, we have American football and every time someone does something wrong, they throw out the red flag. That’s a penalty, right? How many of these flags do you see before you realize that you’re probably networking with the wrong person?
Another thing is look for individuals who are willing to show that they’re willing to create a professional relationship over a period of time because they understand that they have to develop credibility before they can be generating referrals back and forth with each other. Look for people who understand that this process takes time and it doesn’t happen overnight.
Another thing is take a look for those who make the time to go beyond the normal business interactions, for people who want to connect on a personal professional level. That they are willing to do that. It’s not strictly business but they’re willing to help us of the person or individual. Look for professionals who understand that networking is more about farming than it is about hunting and then show it in their actions by making an effort to get to know you outside that business environment. Look for people who do what they can to bring business and contacts to you and their other networking partners before they start asking for you to bring business to them.
Lastly, look for individuals who give of their time and knowledge in order to help their referral sources succeed. How you help your referral source may not just be giving referrals. It may be helping in other ways. That is part of building the relationship process.
This is why of the reasons why we say in BNI chapters are stronger when they’re made up of people who know each other. If you just send out e-mails inviting strangers to meetings or if you just send out a mailing list to nothing but total strangers, they do get a lot of strangers in there and it takes a long time to weed through the “what’s in it for me?” people. If you’re working with people who you know and you just have visibility with them but you have a sense of where they’re coming from, that is the way to build a solid chapter. That is really the first phase of how you deal with the “what’s in it for me?” Make sense?
Yeah, yeah. It makes a lot of sense.
Well, here’s a second one. Immerse yourself in the process of relationship building. I want that to sink in with the members listening to the podcast. You have to really immerse yourself in the process of relationship building. A network that is a mile wide and an inch deep is not a strong network. It’s important to create a personal network that is both wide and.
It’s one of the reasons why I tell BNI members to go out and join groups like the chamber of commerce and service clubs because it gives you breadth in your networking. BNI should be giving you depth in your networking. If you’re doing it right, you’re doing one to ones, you were doing the GAINS exchange, you are going to meetings and you’re really getting to know people, you are building depth. The more you can build depth in any of your networking opportunities, the stronger it will be but it takes time.
So meeting people regularly is the key to making this happen. It doesn’t have to be weekly to be connecting with these people in your other networking groups. It just needs to be on a fairly regular basis. As you going to chamber functions or other business events, make sure that the people who are in your personal network are there. Call them and invite them to make sure that they are there so that you can connect with them. Build the relationship. Immerse yourself in the process of relationship building.
It’s easier in BNI because you are reading these people a regular basis. Work those relationships using the tools that we have. In other networks that you belong to, work those relationships by getting the people in your personal network to come more often and connect with them. It’s these ideas that ideas we are talking about that will help you develop relationships and screen out the “what’s in it for me?” networkers. That is the way to make sure that you are networking with people who truly care about you in your success.
That sounds great. I know that sometimes if you hear from more than one source that somebody has a great business or is a great person, it has a tremendous effect.
It does. You’re right. And that’s why we get the third-party testimonials in BNI. We stumbled on out by accident over time to incorporate that in a meeting. We found that having someone else stand up and say you should do business with this person and here’s why — and it’s usually the here’s why part that makes people say okay this guy is good at what he does and he really supports me and the other members. The third-party endorsement is powerful. I think you are right on the money. It’s a great way to help screen through people as well.
I totally agree with you. Is there anything else you would like to add before we get to the end of this podcast?
I think the last thing that I want to say something that I have said before in a lot of my writings. It’s not what you know or who you know; it’s how well you know them that really counts. It’s about getting to know people and trust people. If you go into this by immersing yourself in the relationship process and looking for the signs of a good network partner, you will screen out the people who believe “what’s in it for me?” and you will surround yourself with a really powerful network that will help you build your business. It will be working the way it should work and not the way it sometimes does work if you’re just going through this without giving it thought.
Oh great. Okay, well then, thank you, Dr. Misner. That sounds like some good information. I just want to let the listeners know that this podcast has been brought to you by networkingnow.com, which is a leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thanks for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we look forward to having you join us again next week for another episode of the Official BNI Podcast.