Don’t Screw Up Your Networking

by Bill Gough, Insurance Hall of Fame Agent

I have reached out and developed lots of relationships throughout my life and business ventures and people have reached out to me regarding theirs.

Throughout the years, I’ve developed a great perspective on what really works in an agency and how the networking and business development processes get screwed up. Wouldn’t it be nice if we didn’t screw these up?

I’ve seen some things where people, including myself, have screwed up. And now, I’m going to share with you these mistakes so you don’t make the same mistakes they did.

Not Showing Up. You’re at an event or talking to the person in front of you sure, but your spirit is completely void. The energy you produce when you walk into the door is what introduces you. While you’re chatting about business or even chatting up potential clients, you should be personable and energetic. Making a great first impression requires it! Nobody likes a “Negative Nancy”. Positive energy attracts more positive energy. Remember that.

Quit Beating Your Chest to Death. If you want the doors of opportunity to open or even stay open, you need to always remember to stay HUMBLE, GROUNDED, and willing to LISTEN. Humbleness admits that you may need help, but you’re willing to listen. You need to be interested in what’s around you before you even try to be interesting.

Don’t Be Grabby. Sure, grabbing people’s business cards is usually the game plan. However, if you don’t establish a personable relationship with these people, when you call to follow up (if you even call to follow up), they aren’t going to have the slightest clue to who you are. Your objective to “Networking” is to make a meaningful and memorable connection. That way when you reach out, they are pleased to hear from you and excited to continue a relationship.

Stop Making B.S. PromisesNOBODY will trust a person who says one thing and NEVER follows through. Don’t be that person. Business relationships happen through actions. If you make a promise to someone, KEEP THAT PROMISE! That is the only way to develop trust in a relationship. Don’t be the person full of crap. Don’t make a promise on the things you say you “CAN DO”; make that promise on things you can actually deliver.

Don’t Play the Short Game. We all know that business and relationships take time. You can be developing these relationships for months maybe even years. The best opportunities require giving A LOT for A LONG time to create a mutually positive relationship. Bonds are not formed overnight.

Quit Taking. ALWAYS GIVE MORE THAN YOU TAKE! Remember, it’s only when you contribute more than you consume that you have a justifiable relationship. Deposit twice as much and when asked for a favor, BOOM, you’ve hit your golden opportunity. Now, don’t screw up. Deliver and deliver FAST. Go above expectations and you will then enter into a whole new category with this new business relationship. Don’t get caught on the short list of “Doers”.

Stop Being a Fair Weather Networker. Do not go dark or radio-silent on someone for months and then reach out for a favor. That’s lame. Just don’t do it. Remember, relationships take time and investment. Always check in, catch up and show interest.

People only care about their business, their goals, and their personal interest. They aren’t going to care about yours until you are a VALUE to them. If they do not value you, they won’t even consider you or give you their time, energy, or attention.

Networking starts with YOU. YOU giving value first and YOU giving it often and, of course, more than can ever be returned. In other words, it doesn’t matter how valuable you think you are until you are a value to others. Go out there and be a value.

Let me leave you with this…. Here is something I learned from Dan Sullivan, one of my former mastermind coaches.

4 Habits to Always Be Referable

  • Do what you say you’re going to do
  • Be on time
  • Finish what you start
  • Say please and thank you

Live by this and teach it for the rest of your life to your team, friends, acquaintances, children and grandchildren. You’ll make an incredible contribution to the world.