Good Leaders Don’t Network
By: Randy Wolken, President & CEO

Networking is all the rage.  Open any self-help, business advice book and it will likely tell you to network.  Don’t follow this advice.  It will not help you grow your business, nor your personal connections.

Networking seems like a good thing.  As the President & CEO of the trade association MACNY, you would think that I would be especially fond of networking.  However, I am not.  The problem with networking is that the premise is all wrong.  People believe you need to network to make new connections that will help you grow your business.  But, it doesn’t.  Why?  People do not do business with new people they meet. They do business with people they trust.

So, what should you do if you want to be more successful?  Make friends!

When a leader – or anyone – seeks to create friends, they must build bonds that can later be used to serve the other person.  Friends want what is best for the other person.  If what we offer is good for the other person, then we can provide it.  We do not sell our friends products or services that would not be good for them. Why? Because we are their friends and we look out for them. Also, because of the trust we have built, they are much more likely to buy from us and for us to build a lasting, serving relationship.  This is why good leaders seek to build friendships and not to network.

Think back to your last successful sales experience?  What stood out?  Was it a quick sale with someone where you exchanged business cards and spoke for a minute or two?  Or, was it someone you got to know and had come to appreciate and care for?  It is much more likely to be the latter.

At MACNY, we host hundreds of events each year.  I have witnessed thousands of people doing business with others over the 17 years I have been at MACNY.  I can say without a doubt that those individuals who are genuine and effective at building friendships are the ones who have been most successful.  MACNY uses this approach – and has done so for 105 years.  We seek to build friendships as we serve our members.  We consider it an honor to do so.  We want our members to be wildly successful.  We build friendships – and the rest happens quite naturally.

How do you attend events?  Do you “network” or “make friends”?  What could you do to develop deep relationships with those you meet?  These are important questions for us and our teams.  The better we are at making friends – the more content and successful we will be.

Looking for more? Download my Amazon Bestseller, Present-Future Leader:  How to Thrive in Today’s Economy.