I believe that one of the biggest myths in business networking is that everything needs to take a certain amount of time. That there is a fixed time for a relationship to mature, or an absolute time period that it takes us to move through the Meet – Like – Know – Trust, before we reach the Trust stage where people might do business or refer to us.
What I dislike about this belief is that it lets people off the hook. What I dislike is that it can lead people to believe that as long as they turn up for the allotted amount of time, that things will magically happen.
Not only do I believe that it is possible to speed up all of these processes, but I believe that in a lot of cases the Trust stage will never be reached unless the right amount of effort is put in, regardless of time served.
So I prefer to talk about immersion – the amount of time and effort actually spent building and nurturing each relationship, rather than simply the time elapsed since the relationship started.
Let me explain this some more.
Meeting someone at your fortnightly networking group is awesome. Over time you’ll get to know them, the relationship will inevitably develop as you spend time with each other. You may even develop some banter and chat about things outside business. The Meet – Like – Know – Trust will move forward.
But what if you put in some extra effort in between meetings? What if instead of waiting for things to happen over time, you put some time and effort into building each and every new relationship. Over and above what most people do.
The brilliant news is that your opportunity to keep in touch with people at scale has never been greater. Joining up your networking with your social media activity and actively connecting with each and every person you meet has never been easier, allowing you to keep in touch in between meetings and even, through the magic of Facebook, build the social side, as well as the business side of each relationship.
Even better than just keeping in touch, you have the opportunity to be the first to bring value to each of your relationships. What can you do for the person you’ve met? Even if it is as simple as providing them some information you think could really help them.
I’ve spent 10 years now making myself hyper visible, hyper accessible, following up on as many contacts as I can, keeping in touch with as many people as I can both at scale and one to one. Sure it doesn’t suit everyone to do it this way, but the sheer level of immersion I have with everyone I am in touch with means that the relationships develop faster. When I started, before I had any sort of marketing budget, effort and time was all I had, so that’s what I used, and most people could too.
Effort is currency. Immersion beats time served.
What can you do today to take your networking relationships forward?
The Networking Retreat – 24 hours to improve your results from networking forever. 2017 dates and deals here http://thenetworkingretreat.co.uk/