Business Networking can be an asset or it can be a complete waste of time. Anybody who’s any good (or bad) at networking will agree with this. The problem is, or at least the problem I faced, was is networking really worth it?
This blog started out about business networking. I spent countless hours meeting people, simply because they seemed interesting. I met people for months and months and months, convincing myself that each one of these meetings were generating me business. They weren’t. In fact, I was loosing money. Lots of money (coffee isn’t free you know…)
On the flip side, my connections are new relationships were high – growing at a very fast rate. I became people rich. People sought me out to have a chat, hoping I might know this person or that person – and I was happy to do it. It wasn’t until I was introduced to a successful business women that I realised that networking alone wasn’t a good enough reason to meet. After some light hearted banter, she (who we’ll call Jane) got right to the point by asking ‘what do you want, Jason’, to which I relied ‘Errrmm, nothing… I just wanted to meet…. Fail. It was so embarrassing. I made sure that would never happen again. Ever.
So to answer my own question – does networking make you money? Yes – but it doesn’t happen overnight. Being well ‘networked’ is a privilege you earn, not a gift you’re given. Handing out cards won’t get you known, and neither will selling to everybody you meet. It happens from spending time connecting and being useful.
Choose wisely the people you share your time with, and if they grant you a meeting, don’t waste their time. Be straight up about why you’re meeting. There’s nothing worst that a tire kicker.