Business Networking - Old vs New Paradigm

The old paradigm of networking is to show up at a community mixer or professional meeting with your business cards, shake some hands, aggressively pass out your business cards to everyone in sight, collect business cards along the way, and pontificate about your wonderful products or services. The goal of the old paradigm was to get in front of as many people as possible because, eventually, someone would realize that they need your product or service. One of the troubles with this old paradigm is that no one really gets to know you (or care about you) and you don't really get to know anyone else either. You handout and collect business cards, but you don't have a proper follow-up system to stay engaged with all of the people you've met. So, you drop the business cards you collected into your desk drawer to gather dust for the next two years. In the meantime, your phone isn't ringing with curious prospects and you're doing nothing more to build a relationship with the people you met.

Eventually, you stop going to networking events because they feel like a waste of time.

The new paradigm of networking involves building quality relationships one person at a time. Quality trumps quantity in the new paradigm. It's about building as many relationships as you can and ensuring that they are built on quality. Having many low-quality relationships is not as valuable as having fewer high-quality ones.

The primary payoff of effective networking is better relationships, which will lead to more clients, more revenue, and greater net worth. If your network is filled with contacts and allies that are interested in your success, and they are willing to refer potential clients to you (because they know you, trust you, and like you), then you have a high net-worth network (your network is your "net-worth"). The only way to build that kind of net-worth is by following the new paradigm of networking.

Where will you be networking this week/month/year?


Ed Abel has invested more than three decades learning how to build a successful, thriving business. At age 24 with a $5,000 loan and the energy and passion of a young entrepreneur, Ed was ready to take on the world. And he did, only to emerge seven years later at the top of a $36 million organization with 585 employees. Inspired by the challenges that led him to success, Ed went on to build other multi-million dollar businesses, yet he missed the passion he experienced "in the trenches" of his f...

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