Netweaving--Effective, Efficient, Profitable

I confess. I have attended one official networking event in the past two years. Sorry, but I just can't bring myself to drive for two hours to schmooze and spend time eating an over-priced breakfast, lunch or dinner. What is interesting is that since I stopped attending networking events, my business has increased. Impossible, you say? Isn't networking the lifeblood of every entrepreneur's business. No, it's not. I've experienced far too many disappointing networking events to say otherwise. But I have built a solid business, a great reputation and done it on less than one tank of gas a month! How?

The secret is Netweaving! No, this is not a new sewing class at the community center. Netweaving is a win-win form of relationship marketing, a twist on the well-known Networking. How many of you have gone out to a networking event and been inundated with people who are anxious to sell you their wares? You are either bored or uncomfortable and you just want to run away as fast as possible! For those of you who want to grow your businesses through networking events but are tired of the same old results using the same outdated techniques, netweaving may be just what you're looking for.

All of us in sales have been conditioned to sell according to WIIFM, the acronym which stands for What's In It For Me? You plan your pitch based on the fact that you are looking for the weakness and pain and then you offer a solution. Netweaving is more in line with the Golden Rule of the Bible or in more modern terms, the movie, Pay it Forward; what you want people to do for you, you do for them.

What are the two key elements of netweaving? One is that you become a Strategic Matchmaker for others. The second is that you position yourself as a Strategic Resource for others. As a Strategic Matchmaker, you are constantly looking at ways to put people together who could benefit each other. As a Strategic Resource, people know you as a wonderful resource for anything they need. You always know the right people or contact.

Why as a entrepreneur would you want to spend your time helping everybody else? Most entrepreneurs have done networking which means that having superficial conversations is fairly common at the typical networking event. There isn't any real connection and unless you are exceptionally dynamic or have a very unusual product or service, you are lost amongst the masses that are met at any event.

Netweaving is all about building relationships which means you need to become a conversationalist and learn to ask questions. This can be done at networking events. However, I have chosen to do this over the past two years through emails, teleclasses and on the phone. It's faster, easier and much less expensive!

The role as a netweaver is to then match people up as the Strategic Matchmaker or file them away in your resource center for matching up along the way. We all know that what goes around comes around. So as a Netweaver, you become well known for helping others to succeed. What does that do for your reputation? You become talked about, referred to and appreciated by the masses!

The secret to successful Netweaving is to let go of what's in it for YOU. That can be a challenge when you are accustomed to the same WIIFM attitude as everybody else. However, studies and reports of successful Netweavers have shown that their business has grown steadily as a result of their becoming a Netweaver. Any time that you can develop a relationship with someone as a client, it is a much more loyal client you are acquiring. They have chosen to do business with you for a reason. You may not be the cheapest service in town, or have the best location, but you have a relationship with your client and a great reputation which is priceless!

I have also heard from so many entrepreneurs that they don't enjoy networking events because they don't know how to "sell" their business. Netweaving removes this challenge as you are simply there to do what you already do well. Women particularly love to connect people and places. How many times have you raved about a wonderful new restaurant, or a great salesperson or the perfect dress shop? You are already netweaving to a certain degree. It's in our blood as women!

Now that you know how beneficial netweaving is, lets get to the tricks of the trade:

Remember that it's not about YOU

  • Always ask for the names of those you meet as you meet them (remember it's not about you)
  • Repeat the names of those you meet, while you are speaking to them (makes them feel important)
  • Always ask them what they do, and don't hesitate to ask them to tell you more
  • Witness the amazing power of allowing people to talk about themselves
  • Think of ways to benefit those you meet (without thinking of your own business); find a way to reconnect with them after the meeting, make sure you get their card or contact information.
  • Share with them any opportunities you are aware of through your contacts or resources for them to grow their businesses (they will be WAITING for your call).
  • Follow up immediately (within 24 hours of meeting them); even if it is just to tell them how glad you were to have met them!
  • Follow through with your commitment to help them grow their business (gratitude is very rewarding)

Not only does netweaving open up a world of opportunity and new business connections, but the more you do it, the more empowering it can be to your business, your personal life and your confidence. Having that confidence that comes from knowing how to netweave and doing it easily and effortlessly will take your business to whole new levels of success.

Jan Janzen has been an entrepreneur for 25 years and now coaches and inspires entrepreneurs all over North America to create a business based on their values and spiritual principles.

Editor's Note: Bob Littell, inventor of the NetWeaving concept and owner of and, wrote in to let us know that all proceeds from website-direct sales of his book,The Heart and Art of NetWeaving, are donated to the Pay It Forward Foundation. He notes, "NetWeaving is the 'business' version of pay it forward."

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