I am very lucky. Not just because I have a lovely family and a thriving business, but because all my business (& I have too much to handle right now) comes to me from my network.
I spend over 90% of my networking time nurturing a handful of key relationships within my network. I sometimes feel very guilty that I am not a proper networker because I’m not going out regularly and pressing the flesh and meeting new people. Frankly I don’t have the time or inclination to do this.
I’ve recently realised that this makes me a networking ‘farmer’ as opposed to a networking ‘hunter’. Both styles of networking are just as effective. If I was to become more of a networking ‘hunter’, I would follow far more of Andy Lopata’s advice in his excellent book – Recommended. I.e I would be using my advocates and champions to be proactively getting introductions to potential buyers of my services.
One of the key differences between a networking hunter or farmer is how they meet new people and the amount of time they devote to meeting new people. A hunter will spend a greater proportion of time, than a farmer, thinking about who they want to meet, how they will meet them and then leveraging off existing relationships to then meet them. A farmer will naturally spend more time helping people within their network, rather than seeking out new connections. The most effective networker will get the balance right between hunting and farming. If you have a change in your networking goal then you will need to be more of a hunter to proactively go out and make new connections. If you have an established network which provides everything you need then you will naturally be more of a networking farmer.
Which is your natural networking style?