Networking: The Difference Between a Contact and a Connection

By Liz Wendling, CWCC Member

Most of the successful business women and entrepreneurs that I know are active networkers. Women are naturals and excel in this sport.  I know and appreciate a professional networker when I see one.

Networking and meeting people is a must.  Networking is not simply about going out and meeting a lot of people.  And it’s certainly not about seeing how many business cards you can hand out in an hour or how many you can come home with. More importantly, it is about meeting the right people at the right time for the right reason. Ultimately it is about knowing the difference between a “contact” and a “connection.” The distinction is powerful.

A contact is someone you know, but with whom you have not fully established a strong relationship. A connection is someone who knows, likes, and trusts you, because you have taken the time to establish and relationship with them.

Great networkers know that a good contact is not necessarily a good connection. One of the most important things to keep in mind is that it is not what you know, or even who you know – it is how well you know them and how well they know you.  That is how you build a powerful network.

Many people go to networking events and concentrate on making more and more contacts, hoping to find that one special person who will be the client of the week.  These people collect a lot of cards, but they never fully understand the true meaning of networking.

Have you ever felt that the time you spent networking was wasted? If so, now is the time to make a change.  People who feel this way are approaching networking for all the wrong reasons. They expect that if they invest time and money at a network event, they will inevitably leave the event with a new client or two.  Going to an event with that expectation will set you up for failure every time.

A good networking event is designed to bring strangers together to mix, meet and mingle. But for a networking event to be successful and productive, you must meet the right people for the right reasons. Meeting the right people will make a positive impact on your business and give you a high return on your networking investment.

Networking, making contacts and connecting with others is not something you dabble in from time to time.  It is something you make a commitment to for a specific period of time. It is an incredible way to get more and better customers faster and easier, than in any other way.

Bottom line: networking is like farming not hunting.  It takes time to plant the seeds and grow them before you can harvest them. It is all about building relationships, partners, friends and referrals.

Liz Wendling, The Sales Coach for Women specializes in teaching women business owners, entrepreneurs and business leaders how to prosper by overcoming the fear and anxiety inherent in sales. Liz empowers women to be confident and strong in the sales process and shows them what it really takes to make sales fun, stress-free and profitable.

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