Embrace it fully
Does a gym membership make you fit? No. You have to go and sweat. If you only go sometimes you’ll get part of the result you want.
Networking is no different. I’ve heard so many people say ‘I went to networking once and I got nothing from it.’ It just makes me laugh. You need to have your face seen and build relationships with people on a regular basis to get anything at all back, let alone a return on your investment. But, if you do, you will reap the rewards.
Meet, like, know, trust
That’s my mantra. Would you pass business or referrals to someone you didn’t like, know or trust? No. None of us would. So you need to build relationships and build trust so that people will want to do business with you. If people don’t like, know or trust you, the answer will always be no.
Create the conditions where people buy your product or service rather than you having to sell them. How? By offering expertise, help, education and advice to no (direct) benefit to yourself, and by treating each person as a valuable contact.
There’s no point trying to be someone else. I go about my work in jeans and T-shirts; if you’re like me, don’t feel that you should wear a suit just to conform. If some people don’t like you or like your style, move on, because others will, and they’re the ones you can build trust with. If you try to be something you’re not, you’ll be found out in the end.