How to Screw Up a Good Introduction

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Networking isn’t a short-term strategy. It’s not about power selling and moving onto the next lead. Smart networkers understand this concept. They know that their networking success is largely dependent on nurturing relationships and helping others. Through their generosity and efforts, they are confident that they will reap the benefits of networking over the long-term.

Unfortunately, there are many misguided networkers out there that thoroughly don’t “get” the give and take of networking. They only consider introductions as opportunities to sell and irritate fellow business professionals with their short-sighted, myopic view of networking. They don’t take the time to explore all of the potential opportunities and feel that is more important to lunge ahead and aggressively sell to anyone who is put in contact with them.

Not only is this overt approach to networking obnoxious and irritating to everyone else. It’s simply not effective. Networkers who, for whatever reason, have adopted this strategy are often the same individuals who claim that networking events and groups are wastes of time. What they’re not seeing is that their approach is turning everyone off to the point where no one wants to help them.

If you’re having a lack of success with your networking efforts, it’s well worth your time to explore how you are approaching introductions. Some questions to ponder:

Are You Taking the Time to Get to Know New Contacts?
Relationships of all types, including those with networking contacts, require a period of discovery. How can you begin to explore how you can help each other until you understand each others needs, wants, capabilities, likes, and dislikes? Fellow-networkers will pick up very quickly if you’re not interested in getting to know them. Time invested in establishing the ground work of your relationship will be time very well spent.

Are You Looking For Ways to Help Them?
Only after you have a good understanding of how you can possibly work together can you begin to offer suggestions. Use the information that you’ve gathered to find logical, thoughtful ways to help.

Are You Uncovering All Possible Opportunities?
Again, networking is a process not a one-time effort. Don’t stop at one attempt to assist a new acquaintance. Keep them in mind and remind them that you’re working on ways to make this relationship beneficial and productive.

Are You Making Yourself Available?
Out of sight, out of mind definitely certainly applies to networking. Keep in good contact with your new networking acquaintance and provide them with all of your contact information so that they can reach you. If you’re both focused on helping and understanding each others goals and objectives, you’ll go a long way towards creating a relationship that will be fruitful and rewarding to both of you in the months and years to come.

1 COMMENT

  1. Adrian:

    I liked your questions so much, I’ve put them on my list! One that could be added under “Are you looking for ways to help them?” is “Do you know how to identify what’s valuable to them?” In order to find out, a question that I’ve used is “As I’m out and about, what should I listen for in a conversation that would prompt me to give you a referral?”

    –AR

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