During this process we know as formal “Networking” have you ever asked yourself, “What am I searching for?”
The likely answer is “yes.” The problem is that most people will say they are searching for that next lead, referral, introduction, and piece of business.
That’s the wrong answer. It’s also a red flag for someone who’s a “taker.”
Here’s what you should be searching for:
A GOOD LONG-TERM REFERRAL PARTNER
When you sit down with someone, how many of you are thinking, “My first order of business at this meeting is to determine whether this person and I could be potential referral partners.”
A trusted referral partner is like having a book of business that acts like an annuity for you over time (the insurance folks will understand this).
A good referral partner is someone you’ve trained over a period of time on how to recognize those potential revenue opportunities they can introduce you into. Conversely, you’ve taken the time to learn all about them and their business because you WANT to find those opportunities for them.
It takes time to develop those relationships. It’s not about the quick hit. It’s about showing the other person you care enough about their success that you want to be a part of it. Trust me, they will reciprocate.
Leave the quick tips, leads, and other immediate gratification networking tactics to the transactional salespeople. There are plenty of networking organizations to satisfy those needs.
Not everyone will or can be your referral partner – for many reasons. Remember what Mom told us? She said, “Not everyone will be your friend.” So don’t worry about it.
Treasure those folks that you’ve cultivated (and they have done the same with you). They will tend to eventually become your close friends and sources of the best introductions you’ll ever have.
Good luck and good networking.