If I could impart one piece of wisdom regarding networking and getting more referrals, it would be this: Networking is about farming for new contacts, not hunting them.
It’s a point that needs to be made, because most business professionals go about networking the way our cave-dwelling ancestors went about hunting food–aggressively and carrying a big stick.
You’ll see them at any gathering of businesspeople. They’re so busy looking for the next big sale or trying to meet the “right” prospect that they approach networking simply as an exercise in sifting through crowds of people until they bag the ideal client, the big customer who can turn their business around. They don’t have time for regular people like us; they’re stalking the director of marketing, chief operating officer or other high-octane connection, looking for the big kill.
“Farmers take a different approach. They don’t waste time looking for the right person; instead, like those who plant seeds and patiently nurture their crops, they seek to form and build relationships wherever they can find them. If they get an immediate payoff, that’s fine, but it’s not their principal goal. They know that the effort expended upfront will pay off in a rich harvest later on–much richer then the hunter’s quick kill–and that truly profitable relationships can’t be rushed.
Share your thoughts OR experiences relating to farming vs. hunting in your networking activities.