I am often asked, “How does business networking work?”. The best way I know to answer this question is to relate an experience I had just recently.
I was working a new client, asking lots of questions about her medical practice, and gathering ideas that would be used in the script for her new messages-on-hold. The more information that I have about the practice, the easier it is to help educate and inform her phone callers and her patients.
Some of the information I need is easy to find – simple stuff, like the address and office hours. These I can usually find on a client’s website. But when I looked on this physician’s website for an address, there was actually an error message from Mapquest which read, “Looks like this map needs updating. Could you contact the site owner and let them know?”.
When I emailed the website owner (my client), she asked if I created websites. She explained that she only had a “free” website and realized that her successful practice needed a more professional appearance. “No, I don’t design websites,” I answered, however I told her that I could refer her to someone who does (he is a member of my networking group), so she asked me for his contact information.
Networking isn’t that tough
Networking is pretty easy. It’s like anything else you do seriously. The more you’re involved in it, the more practice you get, and the better you get. It’s like being able to recognize a curve ball. (I can’t.) If you’re a baseball fan, you can see the ball curve as the batter swings (and misses). Networking is the same. Get involved and soon you’ll start noticing networking opportunities, and people you can help by referring them to someone who can help them. And after you start, people start to rely on you to help them find the help they need, or make connections they want. You become the “go to” person that they rely on. That’s just one of the added benefits.
That’s how networking works.