It drives me CRAZY when people say, “It’s all about who you know.”
Most people think networking is all about who you know. Well, they are wrong.
Some people think networking is all about who knows you. They are also wrong.
People who think it’s all about who you know or who knows you are usually people who think networking is about collecting business cards or amassing thousands of meaningless connections through social media.
Quality is more important than quantity when it comes to networking.
Here’s the truth: Networking is all about who likes you and who respects you.
Before referring you to someone else, a successful person is consciously or subconsciously asking himself, “Do I like and respect this person enough to put my reputation on the line by introducing her to someone I trust?” If the answer is “no,” networking will get you nowhere. However, if the answer is “yes,” you can usually get almost anyone to open his rolodex.
Unfortunately, there are people I “know” that I would never refer to my top contacts because either (a) I don’t like them or (b) I don’t completely respect them. This might sound harsh, but I guard my reputation very carefully (you should also), and other referral sources will have a similar mindset.
The good news is that it does not take years of rapport-building to get someone to like you and respect you, and it is incredibly easy to stand out in a good way. You just need to make someone confident that you will represent him well if he puts his reputation on the line by introducing you to his contacts.
For example, one of the executives influential in helping me get my dream job in the NBA when I was only 21 was someone I spoke to for less than three minutes in-person at a networking event. The next week, he connected me with five of his best contacts after we spoke briefly on the phone. I’d be willing to bet he had some family members (i.e. people he “knew” very well) that he would not have been willing to do that for…
Networking is NOT all about who you know or who knows you. Networking is all about who likes you and who respects you.