I try to go to a number of networking events a year. It’s a great way to meet people. As a networker and connector, I enjoy meeting new people and seeing who in my “rolodex” would be a good business connection for them – not to mention getting myself some business!
After each event, I send out a quick thank you email, along with a PDF we produced called 10 Tips on Using Social Media for Lead Generation. I don’t want anything in return; it’s my way of saying Thanks and it’s good to meet you. I love the idea and of course, it’s not mine. BNI, the largest networking group in the world, calls it Giver’s Gain. Gary Vaynerchuk wrote an entire book on it called The Thank You Economy.
So, I’m still rather amazed when a brand new connection contacts me and asks “Hey, we met last week. Do you have a good lead for me?” without offering anything in return – or even asking me what a good lead for me is.
To quote the Amazon.com summary of Gary’s book:
The Thank You Economy offers compelling, data-driven evidence that we have entered into an entirely new business era, one in which the companies that see the biggest returns won’t be the ones that can throw the most money at an advertising campaign, but will be those that can prove they care about their customers more than anyone else.
EVERY networking group I’ve been to, or been a member of, thrive on the Giver’s Gain philosophy. It may be those words (BNI) or a similar thought-process, but the idea is the same. Reaching out to me and flat out asking for a lead (especially before we meet 1-on-1, before we have any in-depth conversations, etc.) simply turns me off.
Networking is a great tool – when used correctly. The “me me me” approach doesn’t work – at least not for me .