The Non-Salesy Approach to Networking

"The currency of real networking is not greed but generosity.” -Keith Ferrazzi

One of the key aspects of successful marketing is creating meaningful connections. When you enter a relationship with the goal to sell your product or service, people will see through your tactics. Focus on what you can provide for others, and how you can work together to build a lasting, and mutually beneficial relationship. So, today, let’s chat about the non-salesy approach to networking. 

Connect on a personal level 

The art of storytelling is a compelling skill that you can utilize when building relationships with others. People want to connect with you, through your lived experiences and expertise, whether that be related to your personal or professional life. It is these narratives that captivate your listeners and allow them to feel like you are trustworthy, while also keeping them engaged. Interestingly, you are more likable to others when you are open about your imperfections and display vulnerabilities. Therefore, don’t be afraid to share aspects of your life that might include you stumbling along the way, allowing others to relate and connect with you in a natural and organic way. 

Share your knowledge 

Don’t shy away from sharing your skills and knowledge with others. One of the most frustrating things you can do is gatekeep your resources, especially when you are trying to build a meaningful relationship. Provide tips, insights and expertise that will benefit others. Rather than immediately promoting your own products or services, ask how you can provide support to others. Be genuine in your actions, and actively look for ways to add value. In doing so, you establish yourself as a valuable resource within your network, where people will remember you. 

Focus on listening 

We have all dealt with individuals who simply can’t wait for their turn to speak. Rather than absorbing the information being conveyed, they are waiting to pounce the second you finish your sentence. These types of interactions can be frustrating and often lead to breakdown in communication as well as the relationship. Therefore, prioritize being an engaged and active listener. Ensure you are using nonverbal communication such as smiling, nodding your head, maintaining comfortable eye contact, and paying close attention to your posture. Ask questions and respond with thoughtful words to acknowledge and validate what they are saying.   

“Active listening involves fully concentrating on what is being said rather than passively absorbing what someone is saying. It’s not just about remembering the content of what someone is sharing, but actively seeking to understand the complete message.”


Take interest in others 

Take a genuine interest in the other person, focusing on their needs, wants, and goals and you will create stronger bonds with people. In doing so, you will unlock an increase in shared experiences. These, in turn, will build lasting friendships that extend beyond the walls of your BNI chapter. 

Follow up without expectations 

After meeting someone, follow up with a friendly and personalized message. Try to draw on a few important details from your interaction or refer to something that was mentioned. Express your appreciation for the connection. Depending on your conversation, you may choose to share relevant information or resources without expecting an immediate favour in return. Ask to meet again to show that you are interested in building the relationship further. 

Effective networking is about establishing genuine connections, and this is best accomplished when done in a non-salesy manner. Focus on being supportive, helpful, knowledgeable, and available and you will find yourself creating a network that is highly beneficial for everyone

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