Is Networking a Waste of Time?
The simple answer to the question posed in the title of this post is – maybe.
Networking is actually one of the most powerful strategic activities you can engage in if you do it right. In fact, when people ask me what they should do to market their business when they are just getting started I tell them to start networking.
However, I don’t simply mean print off a bunch of business cards and head out to the next wine and cheese Chamber event and start passing out your new cards.
Effective networking today has taken on a vastly different look but one thing has not changed – networking is not about selling, it’s about connecting people.
Technology, social networks and our propensity to turn online for every need have greatly expanded the elements of networking but connecting is, and I suggest always will be, at the core.
Today networking is the richest source of organic backlinks that still drive SEO. Today networking is building stakeholder maps as a way to shorten sales cycles. Today networking is how you make yourself more valuable to your existing clients.
My guest for this week’s episode of the Duct Tape Marketing Podcast is Derek Coburn. He and his wife Melanie have created a unique network in Washington DC called cadre. The network is based on the idea of people connecting people rather than people promoting themselves.[Tweet “The ironic thing about focusing on connecting rather than selling is that it’s a crazy powerful way to sell.”]
You know of course the ironic thing about this idea of focusing on connecting and adding value rather than selling is that it’s a crazy powerful way to sell.
Derek is also the author of Networking Is Not Working: Stop Collecting Business Cards and Start Making Meaningful Connections, the best book I’ve read on the idea of connecting.
As he shares in our interview this book and his Cadre community were born out of frustration with having spent thousands of fruitless hours attending traditional networking events. Coburn’s book offers fresh, effective, unconventional strategies for growing and nurturing a powerful network. These strategies grew Coburn’s revenue by 300% in just 18 months and can have a major impact on your business.
Some of the most ideas contained in the book include:
- How to become the Ultimate Connector
- How to become the Ultimate Resource
- How to identify and develop relationships with world-class professionals
- How to enhance the value you deliver for your best clients
- How to position yourself for more quality introductions to ideal prospective clients
Connecting is the master skill no matter if you are a salesperson, business owner or someone starting a career.