What is networking?
Networking is not selling. Let that sink in! People get the definition wrong all the time.
People tend to small-talk and sell themselves and their products at networking events. They will hand over a business card to every hand they touch in the hope of generating leads and anxiously will try to close with every subsequent word. We all want to run away from this kind of person and trust me, we should, because it’s a complete waste of time.
LinkedIn is no better. People start pitching themselves after their first text. They will send out multiple drip-messages alongside requesting your number for a call.
This might generate them a few leads. But will you entertain them ? The answer clearly is NO!
Networking is all about building meaningful relationships with the people you meet. It is a way to create rapport with the people around you. You can only do this by listening attentively and making the other people heard. People might have 1,000 other things in their mind when you’re talking but not vice versa. You should ask meaningful questions while you’re listening. To ask good questions, you must understand. So, let them have the stage. Your only job here is to make them heard by understanding what they speak and asking good questions.
“Most people do not listen with the intent to understand; they listen with the intent to reply.”Stephen R. Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change
What to ask?
It might feel like a tremendous task at first to ask someone for help, but trust me on this 95% of them will help you with the questions you ask. People are often happy to do it, and counter-intuitively, it makes them like you more. I have seen people land into various multi-million-dollar opportunities just by building meaningful and powerful connections. For example, in the case of Paul Teshima, who sold his company Eloqua, a marketing automation and intelligence platform for $871 million ( 200 percent of its estimated public market value ) to Oracle due to the strong relationships he had built previously with the people at there.
You can also do a similar miracle by creating a strong network, like getting a new job or raising capital for your game-changing startup. This list goes on. It all depends upon how well you worked on creating your network.
Your network is your net worth.Tim Sanders
Finally, as you have reached the paragraph, you want to know the secret recipe. The strategy is simple but effective. While approaching, you must not fail to do your homework. You must know about the person before approaching them through mail or real life. Don’t go and ask about where they work or what are the challenges they are facing in their work and shit. No one has time for that. It clearly feels like a small talk.
You should ask meaningful questions. Be Specific about the answer you need!
You must add personalization and induce empathy in the person. For example: –
Hi John, can you help me with the AWS CLOUD PRACTITIONER exam?
This won’t work. There is no induced empathy or personalization.
Will you reply to that? Surely, you won’t. Read the example below and decide for yourself how much more inclined you will be to reply to the following.
Hi John, it seems to me that you’re very knowledgeable about AWS due to the 12 AWS certificates you have achieved. I am having issues regarding the AWS certification examination. I have read white papers, but I am unable to find a way to scale an instance after it’s created. My workload requires more processing now, but no solution is yet to be found. Can you help me with how to scale the instance?
Your help will mean a lot to me as I could get my first AWS certificate!
How’s the above example? Don’t you think it stands out from the noise?
You can apply the strategy to other complex things you need help regarding. If they reply, thank them and follow up with additional questions if you have any. If they ask you a subsequent question or favor, do what you can to help.
If they don’t reply, move on without comment and find someone with the same expertise, if not better. Repeat!
Networking takes time
The following strategy works surprisingly well, and the worst could happen is they won’t reply. That’s okay. Some people make the mistake of not keeping the connections alive. This is amateurish. If you planted a tree, you must carry on taking care of it. Follow along send them questions if you have any after a couple of months, share if you achieved the certification connect on LinkedIn. Investment in people is the best kind of Investment.
Don’t try to fake your question. Be genuinely interested in seeking help for the problem. If you’re trying to fake it, you’re wasting your time. People sense hoax. Develop the relationship further, and they will approach you if what you sell is beneficial for them, or you can later ask them for help.