Networking 102 – Overcoming Fear
by Teddy Burriss – Networking Strategist
Some people think that Networking is a dirty word.
I believe fear is the root cause of this feeling. Let me explain:
The definition of fear is – “An unpleasant emotion caused by the belief that something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or a threat.
Here are four reasons people fear networking:
#1 – Some people believe that networking is a form of selling. Network this way will create undue stress on ourselves. Networking is not selling. It’s all about connecting with people and building relationships. Keep our networking activity focused on having enjoyable and open conversations while asking lots of questions about the person we are networking with. Let the conversations go where it may, maybe into an opportunity to talk business, maybe not. Either way, don’t put our sales hat on until we know there is a need or opportunity. If we jump the gun on this, we may fear failing at selling. Alternatively, if we decide that our goal of networking is to make new connections, failure is less likely and fear is diminished.
Don’t fear screwing up a sale while networking because we’re not there to sell anyway. Focus on making good connections.
#2 – Some people fear they don’t have anything to talk about. I hear this often. This is fine. A good networker really doesn’t have to talk much. Why, because when we are good at networking, we will generally ask lots of questions. Focus the questions on the person or persons we meet at networking events. Keep the questions simple and broad to begin with. As we get to know our networking partner(s), we’ll easily come up with more questions that can help the conversation move forward and the connection/relationship grow. And when it’s our turn to talk, we don’t need to know what to say. Our networking partner will likely have questions for us.
Don’t fear not knowing what to say when we are networking. Instead, focus on asking questions, it’s easier for everyone.
#3 – Some people fear wasting time networking. They believe that the people at some networking events are not their target clients. Except at specific industry networking events, often our clients are not going to be in the same room waiting for us to show up. Additionally, the people at these local networking events are married to the people, know the people and want to help the people who could use our products & services. They’ll likely introduce and/or recommend us once we start developing some form of relationship with them and they begin to trust and respect us.
Don’t fear wasting time at networking events as long as we focus on making connections with people who may want to recommend & introduce us to others.
#4 – Some people fear networking because they are afraid that they will end up on lots of marketing lists and be overwhelmed with emails and calls. This happens, but no where as much as some think. The risk of ending up on another companies SPAM list is far less than the value of making new connections. I’ve ended up on a few marketing lists myself. It’s an easy task to reply REMOVE or take the call and clearly state, “Thanks for calling, but I have no need for the service/product you have to sell. Please take me off your marketing lists.” Again, this happens periodically, however the value of meeting new people far outweighs the risk of ending up on an irrelevant marketing list.
Don’t fear ending up on someone’s list, the benefits of connecting with someone new outweighs this risk.
1 – don’t fear not getting a sales opportunity, networking is not selling
2 – Don’t fear having to come up with a conversation, just ask questions
3 – Don’t fear wasting time networking because people at these events know people who may need your products/services
4 – Don’t fear ending up on a marketing list, it’s a minimal risk compared to the value of meeting new connections.