Dr. Misner recently read an article in a major business publication entitled “Stop Networking.” The author complained that the process of networking is mercenary and that instead of “networking”, you should
- Focus on relationships, not transactions.
- Don’t ask for something before you give something.
- Don’t make the process about you.
- Strive for quality, not quantity, in your relationships.
- Volunteer for leadership roles in organizations you belong to.
But wait–isn’t that networking? Yes: networking the right way. Dr. Misner expresses these five principles this way:
- Relationships, not transactions.
- Invest in some social capital.
- Be interested, not interesting.
- Quality over quantity.
- Become engaged in the groups you belong to.
Don’t stop networking. Just start networking the right way.
Share your own ideas about networking the right way in the comments.
Brought to you by Networking Now.
Complete Transcript of Podcast 447 –
Hello everyone and welcome back to the Official BNI Podcast, brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. I am Priscilla Rice, and I am coming to you from Live Oak Recording Studio in Berkeley, California. I am joined on the phone today by the Founder and the Chief Visionary Officer of BNI, Dr. Ivan Misner. Hello, Ivan. How are you today?
I am doing great, Priscilla. We have an interesting podcast, I think, today. I am going to get on one of my soapboxes.
So when I asn an audience how many of you are hoping to possibly sell something, almost everybody raises their hand. You and I have talked about this in a previous podcast. When I ask that same audience how many of you are here to buy something, nobody raises their hand. Hardly ever. Not one person.
This is what I call the networking disconnect. too often, people show up at networking events wanting to sell something but nobody ever goes wanting to buy something. This is how networking can be done badly.
So it didn’t surprise me when I read an article in a major online business venue. The title was Stop Networking. That is what he was telling people. Stop networking – it is so mercenary. That is what he called it. The problem was that every example that he gave on how networking doesn’t work was an example of really, really bad networking. So he gave this really bad examples and said stop networking. The conclusion was stop networking.
Instead of networking, the author said to do these five things:
One, focus on relationships, not transactions. Two, don’t ask for something before you give something. You are chuckling because you see where this is going.
I do see where this is going, yes.
Three, don’t make the process about you. Four, strive for quality, not quantity in your relationships. And five, volunteer for leadership roles in your organizations that you belong to.
This is where I feel like screaming, “Hello! Does anyone notice that the emperor has no clothes?” I would argue that all five of these strategies are, in fact, all about networking. But networking the right way. In his article, bad networking tactics were presented as the reason that people should quit networking altogether. Networking can be done horribly wrong, but networking isn’t bad. In face, when it is done right, everyone agrees that it is a fantastic way to build your business.
So don’t stop networking. Just start doing it right. It is, in fact, about relationships. Not transactions. You have heard me say that many, many times. The key to networking events is to make solid connections with people so that when you follow up with them, they remember who you are when you invite them out to coffee or lunch. When you go to networking events and you try to sell to people, they are never going to want to meet you again.
You may need to substitute stop selling and start networking.
Yeah, I think people do use networking as a face to face cold calling opportunity. I think sometimes networking gets a bad rap because it is just basically cold calling people, and that can’t be confused with networking.
His second point was about don’t ask for sone thing until you have given something. I couldn’t agree more. You invest in social capital. But I have been talking about the social capital aspect of networking for a long time. If you want people to be eager to meet with you after networking events, the key is to find ways to help them.
Think back to the people in the audience that I was talking about. Think back to relationships that have had the possibility of forming and how many of them most likely never formed because people were there to sell and not really there to help or support anyone.
My third point is be interested. Not interesting. It is not all about you. Do what you can to make a connection, especially if you are networking up to someone who is more successful than you. If so, be interested in what they are doing. Don’t pitch them the moment you meet them.
We talked about this in the podcast- it never hurts to ask, right? Wrong. It totally hurts to ask. Contrary to popular belief, it hurts to ask for business if you don’t have the relationship.
The next point was quality over quantity. The one thing more important that the size of your network is the quality of your network. It is a people puzzle, not a sumbers game. It is about finding out about the people you are meeting with.
Now, there are certain size chapters that are going to generate a whole lot more business. Don’t get me wrong. A chapter of 16 members is not going to generate a ton of business. A chapter of 32 members will pass literally 300% more referrals than a chapter of 16 members. So the size of the group is an issue, but the only thing more important than that is the quality of the group. It is definitely- quality leads both important factors.
The last is become engaged in the groups that you belong do. I agree with the author’s comments completely. If you really want to stand out in BNI or in any network, volunteer and become a leader. It is amazing how much exposure you can receive when you are helping to run
a group that you are active in.
I have built a global company with offices in more than 65 countries. I have done all of this by building relationships, networking and getting referrals. My advice is don’t stop networking. Just start networking the right way. I think that is what we do in BNI.
I agree. Absolutely, Ivan.
Well thanks. If you agree- as a matter of fact, if you are listening to this podcast or reading the transcript, share with us what you think is doing networking the right way. What are some of the key characteristics of networking the right way? I would love to have your comments on this podcast. I read everybody’s posts all the time. I promise.
And he does.
Alright, Ivan. Thank you so much. I would just like to remind the listeners that this podcast has been brought to you by NetworkingNow.com, which is the leading site on the net for networking downloadables. Thank you so much for listening. This is Priscilla Rice and we hope you will join us nest week for another exciting episode of the Official BNI Podcast.