Rules Differentiate Networking, Prospecting and Mentoring

January 14, 2014

Part 2 - The Networker's Guide to Success Series

The most important difference between Networking, Prospecting and Mentoring are the rules each one uses to accomplish a specific business goal. Knowing those will improve success and save time, money, and discouragement.

In Networking All Are Equal

In networking, the main rule is that each person:

• Gives and takes: they give something to their network and there’s something they want to take.

• Is perceived to be equally valuable.

• Is responsible for trying to learn the goals of others and sharing their own.

• Tries to help others achieve their goals.

• Can only truly network effectively with people they like and trust.

In The Networker’s Guide to Success, I have identified ten golden rules that successful networkers follow. Most small business owners, who are also responsible for sales, use networking most often. They know to grow their business they will need more than sales. Networking gives them the ability to “get” and “give” other things not just customers.

Prospecting Has Someone in Charge

Prospecting rules are different. You can prospect with people you don’t want in your network. Prospecting focuses on “taking”. Whether or not others achieve their goals (or if the prospector is even aware of those goals) is secondary where it’s primary in networking. Erica Bell gave an excellent example of prospecting —lead generation. According to the Chief Marketer’s 2013 Prospecting Survey, 41.5% of marketers listed the finding of new customers as their primary prospecting goal. Prospecting for new customers also accounted for nearly half of all marketing budgets. Prospecting is certainly useful and a well used approach.

Mentoring Requires Leaders and Followers

There are mentorship or protégé programs of all kinds like those for women, veterans, children, employees, and businesses. At First & Second Looks Mentoring Forum, a monthly business mentoring program sponsored by the Business Success Center and Texas Entrepreneur Networks, the goal is for each new business owner to get the business advice they seek and find a potential advisor and door-opener going forward. It can be a very powerful way to accomplish ramp up goals.

Mentors are the ultimate “givers” but there are rules and compromises. They give wisdom, guidance, and advice on job hunting, solving problems of all kinds, and career and business advancement. They expect their “mentees” to do what they say. A mentee said that, for him, being mentored was like being tied to someone’s apron strings. They felt that they had no choice. Mentors can feel tied down as well and “on call” all the time. As filmmaker Steven Spielberg says, “The delicate balance of mentoring someone is not creating them in your own image, but giving them the opportunity to create themselves.” It’s important that both take a break from each other from time to time to allow that self development to happen and care has to be taken that it’s not over used.

Want to learn more?

Please see The Networker's Guide to Success (ebook)

Networker's Guide to Success

Topics: Sales & Marketing, Content Type

Jan Triplett

Business Success Center

Jan Triplett, Ph.D. is the CEO of the Business Success Center (BSC), a City of Austin certified green business, that provides sales and financial growth strategies, planning, and implementation. She is also a professor in Business and Professional Skills for the online MBA program at Mary Baldwin University. Triplett is a national and international speaker, author of A Networker’s Guide to Success and co-author of Thinking Big, Staying Small and Easy to be Green. She published The Networker ” magazine for over ten years and moderated KUT radio’s nationally syndicated program, “The Next 200 Years”. She was co-creator of the award-winning “City Management Academy” and the “Owners MBA” and co-founded the Entrepreneurs’ Association Hatchery incubator and accelerator. She is a small business activist. She served as a White House Conference on Small Business and Congressional Summit delegate, served on the Mayor’s Task Force on International Infrastructure, initiated the Northcross IBIZ District and recommended portions of Austin’s Big Box Ordinance. She was a founder of the Women’s Chamber of Commerce of Texas and the Greater Austin International Coalition. The SBA honored her as Texas’ Small Business Advocate. She has also earned her CBTAC and Director credentials. Her company received a Small Business Administration (SBA) five-star national award and the Austin Business Journal named it a top 20 management consulting firm.
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