This is a guest post from David Steel, one of the nation’s leading experts on Sales Motivation.
Many people turn to networking in times of need.
When looking for a job, a reference for a job, a person who may be able to help them with a particular problem they are facing, for example. But too often they wait until the need is there, instead of working on building their network consistently all along. It is important to invest time and effort into building and nurturing your network and relationships long before you find yourself desperately looking around for the answers and help that you need. By spending time cultivating relationships simply for the sake of having and enjoying them rather than for what they can do for you in the short term, you will more than likely find that you have a diverse, rich network. These people also have their own network of people. Soon you could find that someone who knows someone else may be just the very person who can land you that job interview, point you to someone who can fix your air conditioner for next to nothing, or help you get started in social networking with your new business and much more.
If you have not spent time developing relationships in your network it may be quite uncomfortable when you try asking someone you’re not closely connected with whether they can either be a reference for your job application or know of any job openings. In fact, in some cases it may go beyond being uncomfortable to the point of being rude, and that relationship may completely dissolve (if it hadn’t already). It would be like someone calling you out of the blue trying to “pitch you” on their latest home-based business opportunity. You know they really don’t care about checking in on you, finding out how you are doing, or anything other than trying to “sign you up.”
I have seen this happen in social networking sites a lot. It happens when someone posts about their business on your personal Facebook wall, which is a huge turn-off by the way! Or when they only comment on your post when it has something to do with their business. Or when they try to act like they are interested in you and you can tell at any moment they are going to type out a link to check out and ask “just let me know what you liked about this.” Has it happened to you? Annoying isn’t it?! Now, I am pausing to think how often I may have done that without intentionally trying to “pitch” someone, and how that must have felt.
If you have been spending time working on building and cultivating your network, not simply for what you can get out of it, but for what you can give as well, then when the time comes and you either need someone for something or vice versa, you will find that you will have quite a group of people who may be more than willing to help you out or point you in the right direction. It just goes back to the very, very basic principle of treating others how you would like to be treated.