So let’s face facts. Most people never learn how to properly network. Some get fortunate enough to learn in a solid program in a good school. Others might finally learn if they join a solid company, but the truth is that most people’s problems boils down to one primary issue.
Most people approach networking with the attitude of what’s in it for me.
Once upon a time I was one of those people. As my perspective gradually changed so did the number of valuable contacts I begin to acquire.
One summer in search of some extra spending money I started searching ways to make money online and I stumbled onto some popular GPT (Get Paid to Sites) like Cash Crate and Treasure Trooper. As I completed one incentive offer after another I determined that there was a lot more money to be had if I could obtain some referrals.
So what did I do? Well, I started networking, at least in my mind. I started going to every forum, yahoo answers, etc. and writing something like…
“OMG. U can make so much money. You will be rich forever, and attract hot people that will love you and wait on you hand and foot. I made $12 billion dollars yesterday in just 15 minutes. This program totally rocks hardcore!”
Okay. So I’m exaggerating a little bit, but you’ve all seen something similar. I even had people sign up, but they were people looking for that unattainable dream, and they didn’t last very long and I didn’t get much referral income. What I realized was that I needed people that just wanted an easy way to make a little bit extra spending money, while having a little bit of fun doing it.
So I started targeting people that had problems, and I offered them a solution. I watched forums, yahoo answers, and mylot for people genuinely looking to make a realistic amount of excess spending money. I told them the truth, and I told them that I would help them anyway I could. I begin collecting emails and sending out a weekly newsletter with offers that approved easily, were worth a lot, etc. I built blogs designed to help people with questions that I was frequently asked. And I started making some decent money without investing too much time. I was starting to learn the true value of networking.
Zig Ziglar once said, “You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
This couldn’t be more true, and I was finally seeing the evidence to prove it:
I also found one of my favorite groups to work with: Work at Home Moms. They’re a tough group to break into, because they’re thick as thieves and definitely have each other’s backs. But once they trusted me to consistently provide them with something of substance and value, I built some phenomenal relationships with some very admirable women. Look at the success of companies like Mary Kay and Arbonne; I would venture that a large part of that has to do with WAHM’s.
As a result of those early experiences, I have some great online friends who I have gone on to participate in countless other ventures with, some more profitable than others, and all a lot of fun and made possible because I finally learned the proper way to network.
When networking, ALWAYS try to make it a relationship such that 1 + 1 = 3. Certainly you would appreciate something out of the relationship (and usually WANT something out of it), but first try and understand what you can do for the other person and how you can benefit them or their business and chances are the both of you will reap the benefits of the networking experience.
If you can’t find a way to benefit a person and/or company (or simply don’t have the time) asking them for advice is an acceptable alternative. Most people are flattered that you would ask their expertise and would be happy (provided they have the time) to help you out; just make certain that you thank them and work to continue building that relationship.
Sound off in the comments section. What are some issues that plague people you know when they’re trying to network? What are some successful strategies you have implemented in your networking pursuits?