If you were actually curious enough to continue reading this article, you were probably thinking “What the hell is that?” Networking Forward?
Networking, like sales needs to come from a place of authenticity. There shouldn’t be an agenda tied to it and whether it results in immediate business or not shouldn’t matter.
Let me explain. On a personal and professional level I believe in Paying Forward because I consider myself lucky. My business is thriving; my social life is vibrant so why not give back?
But, let’s stay with business for now. Every now and then (actually more often than not) I get approached by somebody with the request to help them. People who need a reference, or they want me to review their resume, they need sales tips, you name it.
I always, and I mean always try to assist as best as I can. Whether the person could be a valuable business connection now or in the future, it doesn’t matter. As a matter of fact, I treat these people like I treat my business associates, prospects and clients, with the utmost respect.
When I schedule a time with them, I show up on time, I am prepared and I share whatever wisdom I feel will help that person in that particular situation.
That’s what I call Paying Forward. I don’t have an agenda, I don’t expect anything in return.
What I have noticed quite frequently is that some people only want to network when they feel that they can gain something as a result.
Last October I put our house on the market because it’s just too big for two people and a dog. I found a like realtor, somebody I thought I could trust and stepped away from the process. A month later I attended a meeting hosted by a local business group and a young realtor approached me, gave me his business card and we continued to chat about the market, the area, and the fact that my house was on the market.
He wanted to invite me for coffee to share some insights and I wholeheartedly welcomed that because I really do appreciate professional insight. He knew that I was already working with a realtor, but my thinking was that if things don’t work out and my house doesn’t get sold (which it still hasn’t) maybe I might switch.
The day before our arrajnged offee meeting the young realtor canceled saying that he has a lot of things going on (who doesn’t?). He wanted to reschedule and we found another date and he blew me off again. Granted, we all have things that might come up but he never reached out again, just added me to his newsletter list.
The contract with my original realtor is up for renewal in a month and guess who I won’t be calling? You are right, the realtor you blew me off twice.
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