Business networking can be legitimately ranked as one of the wonders of the world after the miracle of compound interest.
If this sounds like hype, consider the following true story:
If Steve Jobs had not connected with Steve Wozniak, the Apple I would not have been invented in 1976. A year later, this extraordinary machine evolved to become the Apple II – the best-selling personal computer of that time.
While Jobs had an uncanny vision of what was possible in a burgeoning computer industry, Wozniak knew how to assemble the dream into a tangible asset. This chance meeting resulted in a multibillion dollar business.
This is not the exception but the norm. In business, it is often the power of a chance meeting between two individuals that sparks a revolution.
Numerous examples abound of how businesses have flourished when two or more people commingled their time, talent, and energy. Think of how Andrew Carnegie, J.P. Morgan, Charles Schwab, and Elbert H. Gary created the U.S. Steel Corporation that became the industrial backbone of the United States, an industry responsible for the expanding the railways and other massive industries. Think of how Bill Gates and Paul Allen created Microsoft Corporation. Think of how David Packard and William Redington Hewlett created Hewlett Packard Corporation.
This is the promise and power of networking.
Ordinary Networking vs. Power Networking
Business networking is leveraging a business through personal contacts. It’s a simple concept, but it involves a complex process of relationship building. However, there is a distinction between basic networking and power networking.
Most people do basic networking, and most people achieve poor results. They attend a meeting, conference, or seminar, briefly introduce themselves with a well-rehearsed elevator speech, and hand the other person a business card. Ordinary networking focuses on brief introductions, handshaking, and collecting business cards. Unfortunately when the participants go back to the office, most of the cards end up in a drawer or in the trash.
Power networking is something entirely different. While ordinary networkers are content with getting a few leads for their business, power networkers know that meeting new people can result in one of three scenarios:
In the first scenario, they might meet someone who later introduces them to someone else who has a profound effect on their business.
In the second scenario, they might meet someone who has an extraordinary talent that adds life to a business idea (think of Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak).
In the third scenario, they might meet someone who can help them win a big deal, either as a direct investor, customer, or referral to financing.
For a power networker, a single “chance” contact can yield a ten to hundredfold ROI.
Attending an Industry Conference
Imagine the following situation. You’ve been invited to an industry conference where industry experts, competition, as well as other companies will be in attendance. You go in there, armed to the teeth, carrying an iPad, iPod Touch, or iPhone using a mobile event app to get the most out of the event. How will you network? Will you be an ordinary networker or a power networker?
As an ordinary networker, you’ll probably just exchange cards or record people’s contact information on your tech device. It will be fun, but your returns will be small. Doubledutch.com recommends using the latest mobile technology to communicate, collaborate and interact with the event in real-time.
5 Strategies Power Networkers Use to Achieve Extraordinary Results
What do you have to do to be a power networker?
Here are five things that power networkers do to achieve extraordinary results from every big event they attend.
Power networkers do research. They know what companies and individuals will be in attendance. They have a list of who they would like to connect with. They know about who is who, what people do, and how they can add value to their business. All of this information is readily available simply by looking up corporate information posted on company websites and reviewing social media profiles.
Power networkers have a plan of attack. After identifying a list of potential networking opportunities, they establish a plan on how to establish contact. They are not interested in winging it. They know that to get the results that they are looking for they have to initiate meaningful conversations. Sometimes, they may even ask a business colleague to make an introduction via email or through a brief telephone conversation. When they meet the person, the early introduction has opened up an opportunity for instant rapport and a great conversation.
Power networkers find a way to create a common bond with the people they meet. This goes way beyond exchanging business cards. They work to forge a valuable connection, stay confident in what they have to bring to the table, and are able to capitalize on any connections from their own network to help the other person.
Power networkers are go-givers, not go-getters. They aim to give so that they deserve to receive. Conversely, most people become defensive when meeting a go-getter. By offering something before expecting something in return, power networkers are able to build mutually beneficial relationships.
Power networkers stay in touch. They keep the contact alive by remembering details. They go beyond exchanging cards and take electronic notes with their devices to capture all essential information that could be helpful in future discussions.
Networking is a proactive way of growing your business. It is far superior to other lead generation methods like using paid advertising or incentivized referrals. However, while any type of networking is better than none at all, once you try power networking, you’ll never think of going back to the old ways of establishing business contacts again.