(this is a reprint from my JerseyJellyWeek.com blog, which applies to folks here).
Yeah – there – I said it. Traditional networking gives me the hives for all the wrong reasons (as if there’s really a good hive reason), and personally I think it’s walking on its last leg.
Before you attack me, even though you secretly know it and wish it, let me explain.
I do think Networking is good, don’t get me wrong. I think it’s great when done right. Too many people are happy to tell you their expert opinion of how to do it and why, but very few of us follow their well meaning and sometimes very practical advice. People rarely engage, really act interested in what you do, and are quick at the trigger to tell you why they’d be a good partner for you. (why not just help people to decide for themselves how amazing you are? why not lead them to discover why it’s a perfect fit and keep you in their important contact list?) And pretty much no one has a great 10 second commercial to make you say – what? or I want that!
Being relatively new to the business in the area, I thought I would attend some of the bigger sessions. UGH! Sorry for being so immature, but I would rather have root canal. There’s so many better and more productive ways to interact, don’t you think?
Sell me. Push me. Convince me. Buy me. So much talking. Makes my ears want to bleed. Us introverted, information processors need to do exactly that – process.
WHO do you really buy from? People you know, like, and/or trust. Granted – we don’t always have those options when we ‘need’ something that moment, but if 2 people are selling widgets and they are both the same price, same features, we are going to buy from the person we are more ‘comfortable’ with. Joining a club where you ‘have to’ refer business to a fellow member (when overall you like the others in the group) is archaic. I am quite sure those groups work for many people, but would you like to hear another way, a more profitable and productive way? A way I think will replace all outmoded forms of dead as the dinosaur networking?
Coworking. Yes. Coworking. Whether in the form of ‘Jellys’, Meetups, Masterminds, and ‘go old fashioned’ coworking, aka networking on sterioids or networking 2.0 will replace standard breakfast meetings, meet-n-greets, pushme-pullme speed networking events. Why?
Let’s break this down. You meet Susan at a breakfast meeting, she gives her shpeel. Maybe she was tired that day, nervous, overwhelmed. She definitely doesn’t know how to ‘pitch & hook’ which many more men seem to be capable at doing. She now is relegated to the under the radar filter. Perhaps she comes across in an opposite way, and you put her in the never want to deal with pile.
Now let’s say Susan comes to your meetup, mastermind, local class, or coworking group. She isn’t in a situation where she is pushed to promote her business. You see the human side of her, you get to see what she is working on, and you get to know her. You now find out she does graphic design and logo work, but because you got to understand a little about the other side of her, you know she does more than that. You understand what she puts into it, and you get her style. You ask her a question and she totally gets the offbeat request. What? She understands you? You not only enlist her, you refer others to her. Sheer, quantifiable leads all within the same time or more, with little to no effort. No sales tactics. How many of those kinds of leads and prospects did you get at your last BNI meeting, or local networking club?
Can you really understand the power of this kind of networking? You’ve added REAL value to your network, and to those of others.
Try an experiment – 1 week or 2, give up all your regular networking leads meetings, and try a meetup or a coworking session, where people are all coming together for a common interest. Get really involved, to learn something new or do something on a personal level (aka invest in yourself by attending events of true interest to you or your goals), and see who you meet. Compare the leads you get. Tell me if I’m wrong.
In the span of one week, and really in just 2 good days of that week, I’ve watched 8 excellent leads change hands. Not bad odds when you consider the # of people on each day averaged 6.
If you have any questions on how to make this work the best for you, or are interested in having me speak to your group about it, let me know. I’ve seen it first hand, and expereinced it first hand.
Death to Networking Leads meetings. Cheers to meetups and networking!
To your Networking Success,