I deeply admire people that manage to build substantial businesses through referrals. But, people that confuse networking with business on a silver platter make me queasy. Let me explain. There are some people that build great businesses through networking and there are some people that whine and moan about how networking doesn’t work. They will tell you that it is a complete waste of time. It doesn’t work because they can’t get new business from it. I am sure you have met the type. Don’t let them drag you down.

I am here to tell you with many others that networking works. I can also tell you that it doesn’t work for everyone, especially the Silver Platter Person (SPP). The people that fail at networking never tell you that they failed at it. They tell you that networking doesn’t work.

The SPP thinks he is the greatest gift of God to earth. In his mind, people can’t wait to do business with him. What he has to offer is so unique that no one else on earth could do. You know the type. They don’t understand that networking is only the beginning of building relationships. The keyword here is relationship. As with anything else worth anything it takes time to build it.

The SPP confuses networking with you bringing him new clients on a silver platter. He is not alone. There are many SPPs out there all wanting the world to serve them new clients by the bunch. Those of us that know about networking and prosper as a result understand that that’s not how it works.

There are many reasons networking wouldn’t work for an SPP. Here are a few obvious ones:

Lack of trust - There are those that are unable to build rapport with others. It is your job to sell yourself before you will succeed at networking. Selling yourself doesn’t mean being obnoxious, pushing yourself onto others. or being the loudest one in the room. It means building trust. Are you trustworthy? What have you done to earn my trust? People will not trust you automatically. It is your job to make them trust you. If they don’t trust you it is your fault.

You are annoying - Yes, there are people that are annoying and you might be one of them. If you behave like you are a living shrine everything that’s great in this world you will fail at networking. Let me give you an idea about some of the most annoying types. He can’t stop talking about himself. He interrupts as soon as the other tries to get in a single word. He knows everything and he wants everyone to know it, sooner rather than later. He hands out business cards by the dozen, never understanding that networking is not a contact sport.

Confusing - There are people that are incapable to explain to others what they do. It is your job to clearly explain what you do in less than 30-seconds. If you can’t do it, you will fail. Life is too short. If you don’t have a great elevator pitch, get one fast. Don’t assume that people know what you do.

Service nobody wants - I have met several people in the past the I liked and trusted, but I could not refer any business to them. The reason is that I have never met anyone that would need their service. Perhaps there is no need in the world for the services they offer, or they are attending the wrong events. Honestly, it is almost never the latter. If you are out there networking your butt off, and you don’t see any results, you might be offering something nobody wants. 

Unlike SPPs, I understand the long-range wealth that can result from networking. Build your business through networking by building trust and by making real connections with others. Focus less about how great you are and more about what you can do for others. Connect people. Help them solve problems. Bring people together. Focus on how you can help instead of why nobody wants to buy from you. True networking will always work and it will never go out of style. There is no substitute for building real connections.