Social-networking venues, such as Facebook and Twitter, have made it possible to network with people who would otherwise have remained unknown to us. All of this “social interaction” has most certainly been of value. Before you engage in a big networking push, however, take a moment to examine your own temperament and disposition. Do you have an internal desire to network? Do you find value and enjoyment from the whole process of building relationships?
Here is a brief description of four networking types:
1. The Loner. Loners like to do most things by themselves. They may feel that they can do something faster or better than others. Or perhaps they don’t want to bother or worry other people. They are often convinced that their knowledge and skills are superior to those of other people and ask for help only as a last resort. The Loner is an easily recognizable type, because there are times when we all believe we can do something better ourselves. Unfortunately, the Loner’s attitude is a major obstacle to effective networking. Loners need to be more willing to let others assist and learn to ask for help.
2. The Socializer. Socializers try to befriend everyone they meet. They tend to know people’s names and faces but not what they do professionally. Socializers are not usually systematic or ordered about following up on sales leads; their method of contact is random. Such a person may not listen too deeply during a conversation and will be quick to move on to the next person. Although the Socializer may have a wide circle of friends and contacts, he knows little of substance about his networking resources.
3. The User. Users are likely to collect business cards without making a real connection with people. They launch into a sales pitch on their first encounter with someone. They focus on their own agendas rather than trying to uncover mutual needs. They often have superficial interactions with others, and they keep score when giving favors. People of this type do network widely but in a way that creates little benefit for themselves or others. Even worse, this kind of networker gives networking a bad image.
4. The Relationship-Builder. Relationship-builders have a “giving” disposition and an abundance mentality. They are generally happy to ask others for help or guidance and tend to listen to others with genuine care and interest. Builders are regularly on the lookout for useful information from which others can benefit. They have a well-ordered and organized networking system. This type of networker takes a long-term perspective on relationships and thinks more about what she can offer than about what she can gain. This type is on call to offer help whenever it is needed. If they themselves cannot help, they usually know someone who can.
A salesperson’s aim should be to become the fourth type, the Builder, whose approach to networking inevitably leads to more sales for the simple reason that the Builder is often the first person people think of when they need help.
Sign up for The Lead and get a new tip in your inbox every day! More tips:
- Social media and advisors: So, now what?
- Social media and sales: Can they get along?
- How to leverage LinkedIn
Jonathan Farrington is a globally recognized business coach, mentor, author, consultant and chairman of The JF Corporation and CEO of Top Sales Associates. For more information and tips from Jonathan, visit http://www.topsalesworld.com/, or go to his blog at http://www.thejfblogit.co.uk/.