Great networkers never kiss on the first date!

Hopefully the headline got your attention, and if you were thinking ‘Wow, what kind of networking is this?’ then I am afraid you’re going to be disappointed.

mike-holman-bniBy Mike Holman, Executive Director, BNI.

The title is simply an analogy for how networking, when done well, is like the perfect first date.

Treat your networking, the same way you would treat your first date, and you will have a much better chance of building long term meaningful profitable relationships.

Perhaps my age, and having an 8 month old son, is making me more chivalrous these days, but I hope to teach my son to earn the right to share a kiss. To do this I believe he would need to respect his date, be courteous, be complimentary, be a great listener and show genuine interest in the person.

I will ask him to think about ‘how they want to be treated’ a slight variation on the old adage ‘treat people the way you want to be treated.’ If he treats his date in this way, and there is not the right chemistry, he can hold his head high and be proud of how he conducted himself…..and if there is chemistry?....Well who knows what it may lead to.

Networking is no different. I have said in previous articles that networking is NOT about selling, Just as dating is not about stealing a kiss at the first date, it is about building relationships.

Those that approach events looking to only seal a deal often walk away empty handed and with a spoilt reputation. Use your networking as an opportunity to get to know people, take an interest in them and their business, listen attentively and always be respectful. Follow this advice and you probably won’t get a deal at your first point of contact but you will have a much better chance of doing business in the future, and even if nothing comes of it, you can still hold your head high knowing you also conducted yourself in the right way, protecting your personal and company reputation.