Networking is not a natural phenomenon.
Most of us are uncomfortable with the idea of putting ourselves in the position of being in a room full of strangers - who all seem to know each other - because the potential for rejection and lack of acceptance is perceived to be very high indeed.
As humans our highest need is to be accepted - we are herd animals - so the idea of voluntarily putting ourselves in a position of being rejected is not an attractive one - unless of course you like the adrenalin rush of 'extreme personality sports'.
However networking can become a lot easier when we learn the strategies and tools for effective networking which can move us from being 'worked by the room' to 'working the room'. However these strategies are not of concern to me here. (click here for a short article on hints and tips).
In this blog I want to remind us of the value that networking can bring in the current competitive market:
1. ACCESS: Networking allows us to avoid the pitfalls of email, voicemail, gatekeepers and the ability of propects to 'hide' behind technology and (once we pick the right events to attend) can give us immediate and personal access to the decision makers and potential referrers of business.
2. CREDIBILITY: By attending events at which existing clients and stakeholders are also attending we can leverage our relationships with them to access others - and this time with the added bonus of credibility. A personal introduction from someone our prospect already knows and respects gives us 'collateral credibility' and a greater chance of getting another meeting at a later date.
3. ATTENTION: In a world where the attention span is devolving to that of a gnat, access and credibility go a long way to ensuring greater attention from the prospect. Attention is a priority for getting positive decisions.
4. TRUST: All of the other three points lead to this one. When someone trusts us they listen and take on board suggestions and advice that we make. This will only happen when we are connected personally with the prospect or corporate stakeholder. This cannot be accomplished at a distance - only through 'close quarter networking'.
Therefore whether you are an executive looking to access key corporate stakeholders or an advisor looking to grow or retain clients, being skilled at networking is now a necessity not an option.