Steps to Networking – Step 4: Networking is not

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 1st, 2010

STEP 4: Networking is not

“Networking isn’t sales and sales isn’t networking. They’re interrelated, but they’re not the same,” best-selling networking author Susan RoAne advises. “It’s a lifestyle, not a work style. The best networkers don’t know that they’re networking because for them it’s a way of life.” Top networkers repeatedly stress that they don’t network for the financial rewards, they network because they love helping people and playing matchmaker.

Networking is a marketing tool, a valuable marketing tool that successful people rely upon heavily. However, if you want long-term success, understand that networking requires a sincere desire to help others. You may be personable, you may be clever, you may have exceptional matchmaking skill, but if you’re only in it for the money or for yourself, it ultimately won’t work. Sure, you might be successful for a while, you might even have a good run, but over the long run, people will catch on and the roof will collapse. So instead of concentrating on increasing your profits, put your efforts into helping others. If you do, the sales will follow as will some other pleasant surprises.

“Sadly, most of us practice transactional networking and we only interact with those who we think we have to in order to complete the transaction,” networking coach Sara Michel observes. “We engage our network only when we need to make a sale, find a job or get a lead. As soon as we get what we want, we drop those people off our radar screens and don’t talk to them until we need to make another transaction. We become “network users” or engage in, as I like to call it, ‘network drive-bys.’”

That said, part of the networking magic is it’s creation of converts: individuals who started networking for purely selfish, self-serving reasons often become addicted to performing selfless acts. Although they began networking in order to boost their careers or to further some personal agenda, they’re often surprised to find that building relationships, forging friendships, making connections and helping others is infinitely more satisfying. They learn to understand that life is a process and start to place a higher premium on how they live rather than on what they receive.

Networking is not just about you, it’s about the group, the network, the collective. It’s not about pestering people, manipulating or using them. It’s not keeping score, it’s not a tit-for-tat or an equal relationship. Networking values effort, it prizes sincere attempts even when they don’t achieve what everyone sought.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)

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