Saturday, June 25, 2005

Networkin'!

I am not talking about network marketing (MLM)

I am talking about social networking, not just the on line type where things are done in a virtual world where people don't have to meet face to face. I am talking about going out and "making friends".

Something I think that I am in the process of learning is the difference in attitudes towards networking between those who work in corporate silos and bureaucracies - internal ops people/doctors/non-rainmaking lawyers/bankers (who, for the most part do not have to "kill in order to eat") and those who work outside the silos, the entrepreneurs, the sales people, the independent consults (those who "eat what they kill"). For example, I need to create deal flow and I do this a variety of way - call people out of the blue, go to networking events, maintain a blog, etc.

My recent experiences are starting to show me that the "silo" types view networking almost in the same light as performing sales calls and speaking in public, they don't see the point of connecting with people they don't know unless they can immediately see the potential pay off (like that person can help me right now, not hey maybe that person knows someone who can help me). I asked if they would respond to a personal (not a mass mailed letter) to them congratulation them on a recent accomplishment and a lot of people said they would not. Mostly because they were "just too busy". Is this the reason why I see a lot of 40 something ex-silo workers, who have been laid off from jobs or made the transition to independent consultants, starting right from the bottom (with no deal, job or client flow) because they haven't built a useful network along the way?


My thinking is exactly the opposite, I will usually meet with anyone who wants to talk to me. If someone wants to make an effort to know who I am, I will always do the same in return. Any salesperson who calls my office and does a reasonable job of finding out who I am before hand gets some of my time, because as a result, I get some of theirs. The last 3 times I have done this, it has resulted in decent deal leads and the start of new relationships. I like to think of myself as busy, but part of my "busy" is building a bigger network. I don't know who knows who but I do know that not taking the time to find out is potentially dangerous

Is this attitude a differentiator between entrepreneurs and "silo" types? Am I just a lunatic?

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