Guest post by Ben Klopfer, VP at EImagine and Rainmakers ConnectTech Board Member
When I was introduced to the world of “networking,” I thought: Great! I get to drink beer and meet people, all under the guise of doing something semi-business-related! It seemed like the perfect combination. And then it became even more perfect: It paid off! Ultimately, I became a big believer in the aphorism, “The more you give, the more you get.” And here’s the true story behind it…
It was first thing in the morning–before my coffee–and the phone rang… sharply. The voice on the other end was vaguely familiar. He said we’d met at a networking event, and he had a client with a problem that might be something we could solve. He made the introduction, and (long story short) it turned out we were a great fit. Case in point, they are still a wonderful client today. #NetworkingWin!
Since I’m a first born child, just winning a deal isn’t enough for me. I need to know… How specifically did I meet this guy, and why did he send a client to me? Well, it turns out we met at a local networking event, and I sent an email to him after grabbing his business card. In that message, I offered him contact info for 1) a prospective client, 2) a potential partner, and 3) a peer in his industry. He sent a very nice “thank you” message back in return. Later on, he sent me the new client, obviously.
But here’s the twist: He sent me the new client 18 months after those emails. No joke. After literally a year and a half of zero communication between us, he remembered me enough to send me someone who is still to this day a lucrative client for my company. That’s the power of networking by giving not receiving.
I will never forget that experience. It taught me that networking is truly about giving back, and trusting it will come probably back to you eventually. Ernest Hemingway said it well: “The best way to find out if you can trust somebody… is to trust them.” And in my experience, that trust comes back in spades!
If you network to sell, you’re wasting your time. Instead, try networking to give. I will personally guarantee it will pay off for you. Agree, disagree? Comment, and let’s talk!
Coincidentally, you can meet Ben on January 19th at our ConnectTech TechForward event. Join our emcee Gerry Dick and panelists John Wechsler, Douglas Karr and Ryan Spence as they discuss tech trends in Indianapolis and beyond. Get details.
About the Author: Hi, my name’s Ben Klopfer, and I’m a networking addict. [Hi, Ben!] When I’m not at a networking event meeting awesome people, I run the sales operations at eImagine, an Indianapolis-headquartered company that works with organizations to help overcome business challenges with innovative technology solutions. Check us out at thinkETG.com, or look for me to help you out at your next networking event!