Making Connections: What networking brings back

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Alan McLaren will be one of the speakers at Digital Media Summit 2016 – Learn More

One of the challenges we face in business is that people think networking is a sprint to the finish line and they expect results right away.

In my experience over the last 30 years, I’ve learned that networking is more of a marathon.

The basic principle of marketing is to be top of mind when your prospect is ready to buy, and in this instant gratification world, many are not patient enough to nurture relationships for the marathon.

You never know when a Contact will become a Connection. Let me define the two:

A Contact is someone you may or may not have met (maybe on LinkedIn) who you almost never interact with, but you still consider as part of your network.

A Connection is someone you interact with on a regular basis either via social media or in person and who you would help at the drop of a hat.

Effective networking starts with how you think and how you act. If your goal is to make a contact with the express goal of generating business, your chance of failure is high. Why? People “feel” it! People don’t like to be sold, so don’t come on too strong when you meet/connect with someone for the first time.

You know that person don’t you…

Do you interact with them? Don’t be that person.

I frequently travel the world and meet people in different cultures with an interest in what I can learn from them as a person and a businessperson and if they ask the same of me, I reciprocate. That’s it. Be real, be authentic and be interesting. If you do that, and if you are patient enough to nurture the relationship, you will be memorable and your contact will be ready to become a connection.

I can’t tell you how many examples I have of contacts calling me six months, one year or three years later to ask me something, which then turned into business, all because I kept in touch! So invest in yourself and your business. Get out and meet people. One thing that we learn often in life is that you never know who other people are connected to in their life. That young person you help today could be in a position to help you at some point in the future or they could become a client.

Every interaction and relationship has value if you are patient enough to nurture it. In the same vein, all networking events are good events if you have a long-term view. Leverage social media to keep in touch; like, share or comment to keep your name in front of the contact.

As in life, or business, give, give and give some more before you ask for anything. Get out there and let ‘stuff’ hit you! You’ll be amazed at what comes back. Maybe not today, and maybe not tomorrow…but it will come back.

Alan McLaren will be one of the speakers at Digital Media Summit 2016 – Learn More

This post originally appeared on LinkedIn

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Alan McLaren

Alan McLaren

Alan is the CEO of InfinityComm. Founded in 2005 along with business partner Leanne Bucaro, InfinityComm is a boutique agency specializing in building brand awareness, engaging and activating audiences through unique creative, PR, Digital, Events, Social Media and Media Production strategies.
Alan McLaren

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