Targeted networking yields results

I have been talking to Jason Nunnelley, one of the best networkers I know, about the subject of networking. 

He wrote the following on Mediumand I thought it would be good to share it with you. 

Then my response, below Jason's piece

Targeted networking yields results

Talking to people who share interests doesn’t necessarily have any financially beneficial end. However, targeting people whom you can provide value in exchange for cold hard cash is a very different set of goals and processes.

It yields positive results whenever done properly.

Most of us kind of muddle through meetings, going to events, collecting business cards (or Facebook friends), making connections where we can. But, what does targeted business networking do that my preferred “hey I’d like to get to know you” kind of networking never can achieve?

Targeted networking generates leads!

Lead driven networking

When you target your audience to do deals you’re going to get a lot further for business development purposes. When you carefully classify prospective connections as client, competitor, mentor, supplier, and talent, you are playing a brand new game. Purpose driven networking.

I often target people and networks I find interesting.

That is not profitable networking. Through the years I’ve made good friends and learned a lot of cool stuff. What I’ve never done is monetize those connections.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my friends I’ve gathered through just hanging out and enjoying their cool. But, we’ve never done a substantial deal.

Even when we engage in business it’s soft, low value work where I’m helping out a friend instead of closing big deals.

Don’t spend significant time doing this if you want to blow up your business. You need to get your game face on and go to work!

That means changing how you view networking.

Instead of targeting networks and people of like mind, you need to target networks or audiences of potential deals.

This is where networking applications and ecosystems are engineered to make your life difficult if your focus is sub par.

I signed up for a networking application, listed my interests and found my competitors!

Virtually every connection suggested was my direct competitor. Hilariously counterproductive for my goal!

After recently signing up for an application called Shapr, I went through the interests options and added all the things that were interesting to me.

Rookie mistake!

Guess who it connected me to. Every person on that network within an X mile radius who were very similar to me. AKA, competitors.

Now, I like talking to so called competitors. After all, I don’t think any of us are really competing. We’re learning, doing, and creating new market value. So, getting to know these folks is a net positive in my mind.

But, they’re selling too. So, I’m listening to my own pitch over and over.

There is definite value in doing recon for your own market pitch and learning how others are pitching their wares. But, a networking profile that lists your business and accomplishments isn’t the best way to do that. Most importantly, it’s not prospecting.

List your prospects’ interests, not yours

The best way to target prospects in applications like this is talk to a few existing clients and find out what they care about. Then, list that in your networking apps as your personal interests.

After all, mine are all over the map. I’m into business development, biohacking, music industry, etc. If I’m targeting musicians and their labels those off-target interests ruins my search results.

Networking apps are seldom designed for sales. After all, how many people would sign up for a networking application to get pitched relentlessly?

Answer interest questions like you are the target to make these apps to fit your prospecting purpose. Answering with your interests is just going to fill your network with your clones.

Warren's Response:

Networking with good people is good.

If someone follows your advice about targeting, they will do well. But please give us a break with the “I have to find more business” rhetoric. This is the kind of attitude that cause people to back off of some of the best networking opportunities.

Case in point. I was at an industry event, with competitors, the night I met you. I consider that meeting to be one of the most fortuitous of my career. Looking back, I have made a lot of money from that meeting and it’s lead to many profitable events, most of all a good friend in the middle of nowhere named Jason. :)

Had I been strictly following your advice here, I would have never gone near that meeting. I would have stayed at home “working on getting new clients”

Had I just attended the event looking for clients, I would have been laughed out of the room.

You are right to say that we don’t need to attend industry functions to meet with competitors. I differ in defining competition, but see how we can waste a lot of time attending conferences just to see “friends”

What you miss is the attendee makeup of all such events. Typically getting a majority of people as first time attendees, looking for help. In business, we call those people PROSPECTS!

I attend a lot of events as a speaker or influencer with access to the press rooms, speaker lounges and backstage. At most there are several industry veterans echoing what you said here. The are saying these thing in the back room because the don’t interact with the “noobs”

I’ve been guilty of this myself. So thanks for the reminder that we go to business events TO DO BUSINESS. Making an insider connection, building relationships with profitable partners is good. Meeting the virgin attendees and helping them for a profit is better.

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