It is important that we all fully understand what networking is and how it works. The benefits of networking and why you want to have a strong network. When you fully understand the benefits you can see the power of the network as a tool for your buisness.
What networking is not:
Networking is not marketing. When you network your goal is not to recruit/sell the members of your network but to build a relationship with them. You want to know them and you want them to know you. Marketing isdifferent. When you market you are looking at securing that sale which is very shortsighted when you are in a networking environment. You market, you get a sale, game over. In marketing you are rarely building a lasting relationship, you are building a relationship with an immediate end goal in mind.
What networking is:
Networking is building a lasting relationship with the goal of creating a long-term mutually beneficial relationship in which both parties actively seek to help the other though referral business. Yes a sale or recruitment can occur as a result but it is not the goal of the relationship. You want to have a relationship that goes beyond the sale so you do not market. Instead you educate. You help that person understand what you can do in your business that will benefit his or her clients. It is always about the benefit to their clients. You also are activiely learning how their business can benefit your own clients.
A visual representation of a network:
Think of a network like a net. A net is nothing more than a series of fibers or cords knotted together. When these cords are connected in this manner, you get a large surface designed to "catch" things. Just like a spiderweb. When you first start networking you may not see any immediate result but just like a spiderweb it takes more than one strand of silk. But when you have a group of people actively networking , you quickly get a series of strands all connected together, all actively seeking to help the others.
An example of networking:
Let's say Joe Schmoe and John Doe have built a relationship. John's sister Jane get's transferred on her job and wants to buy a new house. Joe happens to be a realtor, John will send Jane to joe to help with finding her a new house. John on the other hand is a car dealer. Joe's secretary needs a new car so John sends her to shop for the new vehicle. But it doesn't stop there. Joe Blow the Insurance agent gets a visit from both Jane and the nameless secretary because they need to insure their new possessions. See Mr Blow has been building the relationship with Mr Doe and Mr Schmoe. But the threee of them have also been networking with others say a landscaper, a painter, and automotive shop, the owner of a small restauarant do the street from Jane's new house and so on, How far can Jane and the secretary be passed?
That is what networking is about, when you understand it and grasp the concept it's easy to see why a business owner would want to network as opposed to "market"