Are you a good networker?
I was pretty good. Invested in training. Read all I could. Went to some great events organised by some wonderful people.
I put the work into it. Practised and practised. Even got good enough to be asked to teach networking skills to others.
But it frustrated the hell out of me.
Perhaps you've experienced something similar? I used to go to events, meet people, ask them about their business, probe some of their challenges, tell them about what I did if asked.
All the stuff you're supposed to do.
I did OK. But nowhere near as well as I thought I should be doing.
After a few years it finally dawned on me what was going on.
You see networking, like any marketing, is a game.
And it's a game of skill. The people who do best at networking are the ones with the best networking skills.
Now that might sound like stating the bleeding obvious, but bear with me.
By networking skills I mean how well you interact with others, how good a listener you are, how well you can get across what you do in an interesting and memorable way.
Of course, there's more to it than that. But critically, success at networking is not particularly dependent on the depth of your expertise. On being the best in your field.
Don't get me wrong – you have to be good at what you do. Eventually your reputation will catch up with you if you're not.
But you don't have to be the best.
What happens is that when you enter that room, you're on a level playing field.You could be the world's leading expert in your field, it doesn't matter. No one knows you.
By the time they leave the room, the impression they have of you will be based on 5 minutes of interacting with you.
Even if they meet you multiple times over multiple events, their impression of you will be based on a very small amount of time.
Enough time for them to tell if you're a nice person. To tell if you listen to them and engage with them. Enough time for your networking skills to shine.
But nowhere near enough time for your depth of expertise and experience to show. For them to tell if you're really the world's leading expert or just a decent hardworking professional who does a good job.
And that's when I realised why networking wasn't working for me.
At the risk of sounding immodest – I really am an expert (in the rather limited field of marketing and business development for consultants and coaches – I'm pretty much a duffer at everything else).
My networking skills are good. But no better than dozens of others who've done the training and put in the work like I did.
Put me in a room alongside an averagely skilled marketing consultant who's a master networker, and he'll come out with the business, not me.
That's the nature of networking.
Nothing wrong with that. But it told me that I needed to find marketing methods that played on my unique skills.
For me, doing presentations at events rather than just attending them gave me a chance to showcase my expertise – and it worked far better for me at building relationships and winning clients.
As, of course, does my website, webinars, articles, etc.
Nowadays I only do marketing that showcases my expertise and builds my percieved authority.
What can you learn from this?
Whatever your personal edge – whether you're a technical expert, someone with decades of experience, you're a wonderful person to work with, you always get results, you're the cheapest there is.
Whatever it is – you need to use a marketing approach that showcases it.
Don't use approaches where you're just one of many like I did for so long with networking.
Focus on something that will let you shine.
So what approaches worked better for me (and will probably work better for you too)?
They're the strategies I outline in detail in Momentum Club. You can grab a $1 trial and start implementing those strategies right now by clicking here.