When you interact with others are you selling or networking? Good question, huh? How do you know? What is the difference? Simple!
Sales is the simple act of taking away someone’s pain or providing them pleasure based on the goods or services you have to offer.
Networking is the noble act of taking away someone’s pain or providing them pleasure by any means available … information, contacts, or encouragement. Whatever you can do to add value to their life.
- Do you have a sign in sheet for your guests to register their contact info so that you have a tracking process in place for your membership chair to follow up easily?
- Do your members arrive early so that they can meet guests and make them feel welcomed before the meeting begins?
- Do you follow an agenda for the meeting so that your chapter is organized?
- Do your chapter officers provide their weekly reports in detail or do they often say ‘no report’ or give it little attention like ‘I’m the Secretary, I track referrals, back to you Mr. Vice President’?
- Do your members stay afterward to talk with guests and ask them if they have any questions about the chapter or the organization?
- Does your chapter get involved in the area wide events offered every month by AmSpirit HQ (MORE meetings) or other Chapter Socials? Does your chapter promote your socials on the AmSpirit web site?
- Do you as a member make an effort to get out to other chapters to meet other AmSpirit members and see how you can help one another?
- If you see a member struggling to give or receive referrals do you make a point to approach them in order to offer help?
Here is a simple mathematical fact: zero times any other number equals zero.
We can easily analogize that mathematical fact to your success in business like this …
All your accumulated knowledge … all your certifications and designations … and all your experiences will amount to nothing unless you are not committed to developing strong relationships with others.
Be it bosses, colleagues or subordinates … clients, vendors or competitors … civic officials, charitable leaders or volunteer coordinators. If you commit to having a great relationships with those around you, you cannot help but be successful.
Here is the great secret to business success that rarely even gets a mention with Harvard MBA’s: People only do business with … people only associate with … people only serve to advance those that they KNOW, LIKE AND TRUST.
Think about it. Others will NOT support you unless they KNOW you (and you do not support others unless you know them). Other will NOT support you if they do not LIKE you (and you do not support others unless you like them). And, others will NOT support you unless they TRUST you (and you do not support others unless you trust them). These three elements – know, like, and trust – are the building blocks of great relationships.
The bottom line is this: If you want business success, then focus on your relationships with others. In short, when it comes to coming out on top in the business world – whether in corporate America or small business America – Relationships are everything. Focus on them … don’t be a zero.
To make our memberships meaningful networking experiences, we need to avoid having a broad array of affiliations with limited involvement. In exchange, we need to limit our affiliations and become more involved. In other words, time constraints dictate that we need to get more involved with fewer organizations.
There are no hard and fast rules regarding the appropriate number of organizations in which we should involve ourselves. The general rule is to belong to only as many organizations as we can provide sufficient involvement to make our time worthwhile.
What clubs and organizations we choose to be involved in is a professional decision, personal to each of us. In other words, it will depend for each of us on a variety of issues, not limited to our own beliefs and convictions, the industry in which we are involved, our product or service, where we live, where we work and our goals. In short, an organization in which we join should be one in which we are interested enough to have a sufficient involvement.
This certainly begs the question, what constitutes sufficient involvement? There are as many levels of involvement as there are organizations with which to be involved. Certainly on the one extreme, being involved could constitute being a creator or founder of a club or organization.
Although perhaps not as ambitious, our involvement could come in the form of serving as an officer, committee chair or board member of an organization or club. If that is our choice of involvement, we need to choose the position that best complements our talents and allows us to fulfill our obligations to the best of our abilities.
Sufficient involvement, however, does not require something as formal as being a founder or being in a leadership position. We can become sufficiently involved by simply assisting with the completion of a project or making a significant contribution to a discussion. In fact, involvement could be as simple as being around and mingling before and after the meeting.
Whatever the choice of involvement, the test of sufficiency is simple. We need to ask ourselves, with respect to the club or organizations to which we belong, if we were not at its meeting or event, would we be missed? If our answer is yes, our involvement is sufficient. If no, we simply need to become more involved.
What is so special about being involved? When we become involved with the clubs and organizations to which we belong, we transform ourselves. When we become involved, we are no longer merely just a name on a roster, but a face, a handshake and a smile with whom people can become familiar.
When we become involved, soon our familiar face and smile is not just another face in the organization. We become a person with common cares, concerns and goals.
When we become involved, others have the opportunity to know, like and trust us. From here it is inevitable that our network becomes more productive.