How to Achieve Networking Success

Hi, I’m Dawn Billings,  CEO & Founder of The Heart Link Network®, a women’s networking organization with over 100 locations world-wide, and I have studied women and networking extensively. I have watched, coached and encourage thousands of women about how to successfully network to grow their businesses and build great relationships. While coaching women I have heard them complain over and over...

"I gave up networking because it didn't work."

When I investigated further to understand why they believed it didn’t work, it always came down to two basic reasons. They are actually the two biggest reasons why all networking efforts fail.

(1)Not Going Networking is marketing, plain and simple. It is not magic. There are rules that you must understand when marketing any business. The first rule is consistency. You must make eight to ten marketing touches to get someone to desire to buy your product. Consistency is one of the most important elements of successful networking. If you want your networking efforts to be successful, you must commit to consistently attending for at least one year. It takes time for people to get to know and trust you and understand what benefits you offer. If you are networking with a particular group meeting once a month, you are only talking about twelve meetings, if you are going every week; you need to commit to at least six months.  You need to build a brand, an identity, and a reputation, and even more importantly, have an ample opportunity to give to, and invest in, the benefit and growth of others.

(2)Net-Getting. The second reason networking efforts fail is an entitled attitude that I call Net-Getting. Women have complained that they attended a networking gathering, approached women, and then discovered that one of the women they met later ordered the same product she represented from another source. Why? They would feel angry and resentful and want to know why the person didn’t order from them? Why didn’t they at least give them a chance? They felt entitled, and felt like they deserved the order. An attitude of entitlement kills everything it touches. Let me explain the reason why. Ninety percent of communication is non-verbal. If you attend networking events with the attitude of an entitled Net-Getter, women not only can feel it, it makes women want to hold back and protect themselves from you. You can even adhere to the first rule of networking success above and attend networking events consistently, but if you attend them with an entitled Net-Getting attitude or spirit, they will not work the way you want them to.

To succeed, it helps if we understand the basic principles of human interaction. Everything we receive is a gift. When you realize that networking is not about Net Getting, it is about Net Giving, your networking efforts will transform, but that’s not all, your life will transform as well. Next time you network, be committed to appreciating and learning about others. Networking is not about YOU, and what YOU think you deserve. It is about human interaction, meeting others, creating relationships that matter and then sharing who you are and what you need, and being so grateful when others refer to you and order from you. Find out what others need. In doing so, you will create a relationship with them. When each person becomes more than a sale, and instead becomes a person with heart, hopes, dreams and needs, you will discover how rich and rewarding knowing them can be. Ask them who their best referral is and then try to think of someone that might be a perfect fit for them. Allow them an opportunity to grow to know and love you and I promise once they do, they will refer to you.

Follow the rules to networking success. Number one, attend consistently. Number two, when you network, find out everything you can about the others attending. Follow up for coffee, or muffin, a walk in the park, or a protein shake. Remember, it is not only the number, but also quality of touches that are going to tell people who you are and that you are the one worth doing business with. Let them know you are interested in them, in learning about them. Net Give as you Network consistently and success is guaranteed.

Wishing you a heart full of networking success!