Networking: Is it a bad thing?

It’s December, the holidays are upon us and there are parties everywhere.  Now, I love parties as much as the next guy but I can think of a few friends who are truly compulsive party-goers.  About one of them we might say “John is a networker,” with a bit of better-than-thou attitude.  It’s as if meeting people and having a great time at party is OK, but going to the same party with the intention of meeting as many people as possible and going home with lots of business cards appears less than genuine.

Genuine is a key word in selling.  It’s a rare quality, though.  If you are too aggressive and don’t appear genuine, you will not garner the trust needed to close a sale.  But if you try too hard to appear genuine, you will reveal that this is your modus operandi and lose the trust.  So, bottom line naked aggressiveness won’t work, and aggressiveness cloaked in fake genuineness does not work.  This relationship stuff is hard — an art, not a science.

The compulsive networker has gone online now as well.  He is that guy who boasts “10,000 followers on LinkedIn”.  Do you want to be Connection #10,001 to that guy, or Connection 367 to someone with 366 Connections?  And what about you, will you accept any incoming connection request as a matter of principle, or will you be selective? Do you make the requester wait and sweat it out a bit, or do you accept right away?  Do you personalize the request or just send it?  Networking on a social network often feels as if you emigrated to a new country and had to rebuild your life from scratch, redefine who you were.

Except that you are still here and you have a network, so use it as best as you can.  Reachable uses similar tools to those employed by the giant social networks but it puts these tools in the service of your existing rolodex.  Think of it as having the power of Big Data analytics attached to your rolodex, constantly analyzing it to figure out how your relationships, from the web or real life, can lead to insights and introductions to the people and companies you want to reach.  That’s the big idea behind Reachable (or at least one of them!).

Happy Holidays!

Laurent

[Reprinted from the Reachable Newsletter Dated December 18, 2014]