Networking or building relationships

I really hate the whole networking thing. I hate going to events and shoving cards into as many hands as I can. (Although, I do kinda like taking the cards home and writing postcards to the people I met. But more and more people don’t bother to include street addresses. So that just frustrates me.)

In the fall I took the assessment associated with the book Now, Discover Your Strengths.

One of my top five strengths is “Relator.” That means I prefer spending time with people I already know. I’m not shy. I don’t dislike meeting new people. But mostly I prefer to build relationships. I want to understand the dreams and goals, fears and pleasures of the people I know.

To me, relationships only have value if they’re genuine. I have a very low tolerance for political games and BS. I know there is a risk to say this out loud. (And perhaps more of one to publish it on the web where it will live forever. There goes my shot at a supreme court judgeship!)

I know there is a risk involved in starting my kind of relationships with people. At the outset, I can never know if the other person is on the same page as me. Maybe I’ll put a lot into the relationship and find out that the other person just wants something from me – not necessarily a sharing thing. But when the connection works, it’s a beautiful thing.

Before I knew about this relator part of me, I thought I was some how flawed because I had such a hard time making myself attend more networking events and shoving more cards into more people’s hands. But now I’m thinking, as a relator, I have to find other ways to connect to new people.

I stumbled on this post in the blog, Addicted to the Hustle, written by Fredd Kambo

I don’t bother “networking” anymore, instead, I try to build relationships with people I find interesting, and who I think are doing interesting things. And I make it my mission to help them in any way I can to achieve their mission. I find this much more satisfying, much more honorable, and much more fun. And this is the cool thing about people….When you help them out in this way, they help you out. Not because it’s a tit for tat deal, but because both parties are engaged in a mutually beneficial relationship that extends beyond the next favor.

Hey, I was a math major, I can put two and two together

I add Fredd’s idea to what I’ve learned from Ellen Bristol at the Bristol Strategy Group about Selling the Smart Way® and finding my “ideal client.” And I’m thinking I just have to get more clear about just who are the people I really want to work with. When I know who they are it should be easier to find them. Personally, I’d rather talk to four people and get three new clients than groaning under the prospect of having to talk to 100 people in order to find 5. (Besides, I have ADHD. I’ll forget the plan way before I hit 32 contacts)

So maybe I’ll just put it out here:

  • I love to work with people who own their own companies. There is so much happening so quickly when you’re the top dog. If you’re not careful you’ll miss enjoying the ride on that pony you started down the mountain.
  • I “get” IT types and engineers and they fascinate me. Maybe because they are so much about “fixing things” and that feels like a commitment to progress. I love to work with other coaches who get the process.
  • I want people who will commit to at least three months of work and then keep going. I don’t really care what the schedule of appointments is, but I love it when it’s consistent. It’s really a rush for me when clients come to the call having thought about what they said the last time they’d do by this time, and then have made some progress on that… even just a little.
  • I don’t like to feel like I’m taking my client’s last dollar. I don’t like working with people who always seem to know whose fault it is that their in a certain position, who never take responsibility for their own situation. (You might need therapy) I don’t write resumes, but I will look at them and give you my opinion of you from the page. I’m not a professional organizer. I know some I can recommend. I can talk to you about how your stuff is working for, or against you, and help you decide what you really want to do with the stuff. But I’m probably not going to sit on the floor with you while you go through boxes of files.
  • But most of all: I love people with too many ideas — people who can always think of another way to do something are never boring. Sometimes I have to hang on tight to the string of their kite as they soar to new heights and see new sights. (OK, maybe that was a really lame attempt at literary something or other, but you get the idea.) I love to help work out the details of that plan when they come back down to earth.

Call me if you’re ready for a coach. Let’s see if I’m the one for you right now.

Call me if you were a client and are ready, or thinking about coming back. I love connecting with old friends.

Call me if you want more information. I’m happy to be a resource.
And if you’re working on some marketing plan of your own, just who are your ideal clients? Can you name them? Can you figure out how to get more? Want some help?

Call me or send me a note.

I’m looking forward to hearing from you.