by Stanley Sherman
“Entreprenate: An Entrepreneurial Sense of Networking”
Of all the tactics we’ve used to build our business, one has been by far the most successful. It’s good old-fashioned networking. But you have to do it right. Here are the three keys to developing an entrepreneurial sense of networking, what we call entreprenating, which has worked wonders for us.
- Develop a Sense of Synchronicity
Carl Jung introduced the concept of synchronicity to explain a pattern of connection between events that does not fit within the traditional rules of cause and effect. For instance, perhaps you lose a significant client due to reasons beyond your control. A week later, you bump into someone at a networking event you might not have attended if you were busy working for your former client. She connects you with a prospect that is an even better fit for your business. This company becomes a long-term, profitable client. Losing one client did not cause the other one to appear. However, there is a connection between the events.
A sense of synchronicity means believing that what’s meant to happen at a networking event will happen. If you’re supposed to meet someone, that individual will cross your path. If you make no connections, it was not supposed to happen.
So don’t go to a networking event expecting it to turn into gold. Don’t worry about where the next crumb along the road is going to lead. It doesn’t matter.
Not only does this approach work, but also it takes the pressure off. By adopting a whatever-will-be-will-be attitude, you can relax, enjoy the event and do what you’re supposed to do — develop meaningful relationships.
- Stop Selling
If you’re going to networking events to sell to people, you’ve chosen the wrong venue. Why? Because people rarely go there to buy.
For anything worthwhile to happen, people have to know, like and trust you. Trying to sell your products or services goes counter to your mission. It will turn people off and ruin the chances of developing a relationship.
Instead, to develop trust, be authentic. Think about the last time someone told you, “I’d like to meet for coffee and get to know you better.” Then, when you arrived, they were primed and ready to dive into their sales pitch. How did you feel? Probably like you’d wasted your time, and it’s likely you never spoke to that person again. They were not authentic. They tricked you into a sales meeting.
Without authenticity, there’s no trust. Without trust, your value proposition is meaningless.
- Find Opportunities to Give
Here are some rules that I learned long ago and have guided me through the growth of my business:
- Rule number one: I get what I give
- Rule number two: I hate rule number one
- Rule number three: It’s always my responsibility
- Rule number four: I really hate rule number three
These rules tell you that you’re in the driver’s seat, responsible for everything that takes place in your life. Also, once you internalize rule number one and truly believe that you get what you give, you’ll find networking is easier and more successful. That’s because you’ll network with the goal of helping others, knowing it’s all about developing positive karma. If you do good, good things will happen to you in the future.
In The Go-Giver by Bob Burg and John David Mann, there’s a story about Joe, a sales rep working non-stop to achieve his quota, but his results are lackluster. He asks a highly successful mentor, Pindar, for advice. To his surprise, Pindar agrees to meet.
That’s lesson one. When you can help someone, do it. Pindar did not hesitate to take time out of his schedule for Joe. Pindar explains that the secret to success is to give; the degree to which you put others first will determine your success.
This philosophy changes how you interact with people. It makes you focus on others and not on yourself. And when you shift your objectives in this way, people are more likely to like and trust you.
When you give, however, do not expect anything in return. Just make generosity a habit.
Here’s an example. I met a man, Bob, at a conference. He was involved in the management of a tribal-owned casino in California. It was having some challenges, so I offered to find a consultant on the west coast to help sort through their issues. Shortly after I met Bob, I provided him with three consultants’ names. Later, I followed up to make sure Bob had what he needed. Unfortunately, he said the consultants’ proposals came in beyond the casino’s budget. So I asked Bob if he’d like me to help. Even though my business was on the east coast, a long way from the casino, Bob was relieved when I offered. Not only did the casino end up being my client for four years, but they also referred me to other clients. In addition, when one of the human resources directors went to work for another company, she contracted my services there. Finally, an associate at that organization referred me to a future client.
It’s important to note that I did not expect the outcome of trying to help Bob to be a string of clients. I never even considered that an east coast consultant would meet the casino’s needs.
The moral of the story? One act of generosity can bear fruit for years to come. However, once again, do not help others because you expect something. Do it because it’s the right thing to do.
If you’re like many entrepreneurs who don’t enjoy selling, my experiences should give you a reason for hope. Instead of selling, you can entreprenate. Go out into the world with a sense of synchronicity — whatever will be will be. Leave your sales hat behind, make helping others your priority and business will find its way to you.
To learn more about The Propel Consulting Group, contact us now.