Yes, it is true that networking IS all about referrals. However, it may not be all business referrals. Even business networking may not be all about business referrals. It can be about sharing ideas, resources, contacts, and information that will help others be successful in their business. Networking is more than just passing referrals for business. Networking can also be about helping others improve their personal, social, and spiritual lives.
Mindset and Skill Set
Networking takes both a mindset and a skill set.
A mindset is a mental attitude or inclination. A skill set is a collection of skills and abilities that can be applied to a professional or creative endeavor.
The mindset for successful networking is helping people – the concept of Givers Gain®
and the law of reciprocity. The skill set is knowing the appropriate techniques and applying them in the right situations. Having the right attitude is half of what is needed. However, if you don’t apply the skill set, it doesn’t matter how good the mindset is.
Conversely, many people acquire a good skill set but fail to develop the right mindset. That is the transactional versus relational approach to networking.
Transactional vs. Relational
If you are focused on the transaction – simply making a sale, you are never going to create the relationship and trust needed to generate the business referrals you seek. I’ve seen so many people say, “Hello, it’s nice to meet you,” and then jump right into business without getting to know the other person at all.
A survey I did for my book, Business Networking and Sex (not what you think), showed that people who focused first on building relationships and then on business, scored higher in success. They said that they were much more successful at networking than people who focused first on business and then relationships.
Remember, it’s great to have a large network, but if your network is a mile wide with lots of people and very few deep relationships, it will never be powerful. A deep network contains the contacts that you know well and who know you very well, too. Those are the contacts who develop referral opportunities for their networking partners.
Yes, networking is all about referrals. And those referrals become possible when you change your plan from focusing on business transactions to focusing on building business relationships. When you invest time in business networking and really get to know your fellow networkers, amazing things can happen.
What networking success have you had by building strong business relationships? I’d like to hear your story in the comment section.