When setting out on this Personal Network journey – I was surprised to find that there was very little about networking stacked on the bountiful business bookshelves of the US or UK. The two publications I did find were “Networking like a Pro” by Dr. Ivan Misner and “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi.

Being a Brit (and these titles being off the US bookshelf) it was immediately apparent the very different cultures of our two English speaking nations. The principles stay the same – but us Brits are so much more uptight/shy! Maybe that’s why I like Americans and being in the US so much?

There are some real gems in both books – and today I want to deal with a crucial topic in Dr.Ivan Misner’s book – a personal network grows for the long-term with a farming approach! The wham-bam style of the hunter is not going to work if you seriously want to develop a valuable personal network.

Here’s the key section of “Networking like a Pro” (quoted with permission) that resounded so strongly with me:-

“If we could impart one piece of wisdom regarding networking and getting more referrals, it would be this; networking is about farming for new contacts, not hunting them down. It’s a point that needs to be made, because most business professionals go about networking the way our cave-dwelling ancestors did when hunting for food – aggressively and carrying a big stick.

You will see them at any gathering of businesspeople. They’re so busy looking for the next big sale or trying to meet the “right” prospect that they approach networking simply as an exercise in sifting through crowds of people until they bag the ideal client, the big customer who can turn their business around. They don’t have time for regular people like us; they’re stalking the director of marketing, chief operating officer, or other high-octane connection looking for the big kill.

“Farmers” take a different approach They don’t waste time looking for the right person; instead, like those who plant seeds and patiently nurture their crops, they seek to form and build relationships wherever they can find them. If they get an immediate payoff, that’s fine, but it’s not their principal goal. They know that the effort expended upfront will pay off in a rich harvest later on – much richer than the hunter’s quick kill – and that truly profitable relationships can’t be rushed.”

Thank you Ivan for this insight (and permission to use this quote) – it must be in the top 3 mantras for anyone serious about building their personal network.