How To Network And Why I Never Did

Posted by on May 10, 2012 in Blog, NP, Personal Development | 0 comments

How To Network And Why I Never Did

Both of my kids are off to college as of this summer, and their needs now turn from my ‘presence’ to my ‘presents’ in the form of college or housing assistance. I had intended to have new income flowing by this time. One year ago I started a new iPhone App development company and three months ago I joined a leading fitness company for motivation as well as extra income.

In both ventures, I had unique products, a list of potential customers that would certainly benefit from the products for more than the retail cost, but I did not make the connections. I made the calls, but didn’t connect. Then I stopped calling.  I simply did not know how to network.  I was trying got make sales with every call.

Two months ago, I followed the advice of the fitness company’s CEO and sent e-mails to a dozen of my friends and family. I didn’t know how to network and this lead to a disastrous false start. I carefully crafted the e-mamis following the process of asking why those that responded were interested and then after I asked for them to buy something I hit a brick wall. One of them was willing to buy, and the others were either offended by my request or they simply didn’t respond. Even though I now knew why some of my friends and family were interested, I was not willing to use that information to quilt them into buying a fitness product.

I didn’t like the feelings I was experiencing and vowed I would not feel that way again. Even though I felt my friend’s frustration was something unwarranted and something I would have never done to a friend, I was not willing to break off relationships simply because they are not exactly what I thought they were.

Two months later, another business owner brought out similar concerns in our group and a book by Michael Oliver was recommended. After reading the book by Oliver. I realized that I know how to ask questions but fear my wise friends’ judgement as ‘I know why you are asking me this dude!” I now recognize that the reason I was uncomfortable is that I actually agreed with the statements I was hearing and they are statements I fear:

“You are not really interested in me. You are just looking for a hook to connect to your sale.”
“You never talked to me before now so it is obviously related to sales.”

And they are right. I didn’t connect before there was a personal need to connect. t have avoided having too many friends. I connect deeply and thus fear that too many deep connections will take time away from my family and my own passions.

Based on Oliver’s 23 years of experience in relationship building, I am starting a How to Network Challenge group. We will check in daily to list the number of relationship building moments we accomplished each day and any resulting sales from previous moments. The goal is not sales during the challenge but rather the discovery of our contacts’ needs and to share tips that ensure our network relationships do not interfere with our family or our personal goals.

The goal is to make if fun so that the new habit will be sustained as a new way of relating and enjoying life and all it has to offer.

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