viz. a supportive system of sharing information and services among individuals and groups having a common interest.
Sounds good, right? This is what dictionary tells us but to practice this in real it takes a lot of efforts. Well, let’s break the ice and dig more into this topic. Indeed an important one. I am starting this series “All about Networking” and I will write every week. I am going to simplify networking in this series and give you all the knowledge I have and all me leanings about successful networking. People do business with people they know, like and trust, the keywords here i.e. know, like and trust is important. Plus there is much more to it. How do people know you? How to build likability? How to build trust? What’s the strategy and science behind it? I am going to explain all this in this series.
Even I didn’t know anything about networking for the last 34 years. For me, my network was our customers, few select vendors and few very close relatives like brother and sisters etc. I used to think it’s a waste of time. Day in and day out I was working “in” my business, not “on” my business. I was working twelve hours a day and if anyone out of my business line wanted to meet me, I often avoided that. It all changed after 2012 when I met my networking guru, Paritosh Pathak. I will always be grateful to Paritosh for all the learnings. I met him at one of the BNI meetings and we were invited by my friend happened to be a member of BNI Gurgaon at that time. I thought of joining BNI network but somehow didn’t. After a few months, Paritosh invited me to another networking event which was much informal evening event over the drinks where I met another BNI Chapter President who asked me to be a part of his upcoming event and promised me that it will be a different experience. Indeed it was a different one and I joined most vibrant BNI Chapter Excellence in Gurgaon and my journey of networking started. In the last 5 years, I have come to be known as Super Power Networker. I have touched 100s of lives, helped many people and created tremendous influence in the community and still going strong.
This article series is also one of the ways I want to share my experience and help people grow their business exponentially with the power of networking. But first, let’s clear a myth i.e.
DON’T CONFUSE NETWORKING WITH SELLING
There is a great difference between selling and networking. Networking is investing your time for future. Networking is not taught in schools or colleges. For most of the people, networking is about going to the various events, collecting and giving cards and spam all those people and try to sell. If they don’t buy it’s over and they don’t invest any more time into it. There are too many choices. Let me give you few examples. Few of my Venture Capitalists friends get around 1000 emails, messages and calls in a month from entrepreneurs and startups for funding. They send their deck and never get any response. They get surprised that these representatives of VC firms talk so nice at the events but don’t respond to any of their emails or messages. They can’t. It’s not humanly possible for them to go through all the receiving. Now suppose I or any other influencers recommends and requests for a meeting on your behalf and if your idea or project is good then what are the chances of you getting the break? This is the power of recommendation. This is the power of networking. You not only can get those big meetings assigned easily but your chances of getting the funding to become positive.
The sky is the limit. Networking is an art of making and maintaining mutual relationships. The real game of networking begins within. Which brings us to the first key point, which is “have a clear understanding of what you do and why, for whom, and what makes you’re doing it special or different from others doing the same thing”. In order to get referrals, you must first have a clear understanding of what you do that you can easily articulate to others. You must have a clear understanding of the industry that you work in. You must know all the quirks of your sector so that it’s easy for you to explain the importance of the industry you work in and how much value you are adding to that industry with all your efforts and hard-work. Knowing these three “W” will automatically give you confidence and your sharp vision will give you an edge over others. The human brain is programmed to remember odd thinks more easily, you must understand that being different is very important to get spotted and remembered for long.
Stay tuned for followup articles in this series.
Edited by- Rajat Babbar Connect