Networking for hungry marketing professionals

by Marc Sokol on June 2, 2011

For the marketing and business development professionals who read this blog….

Two guys are walking down the same street at separate times. Each is hungry, each is looking into the windows of stores where there is hot food, and each has a pocketful of money.

Only thing is that one of these two guys doesn’t realize he has a pocketful of money. So he looks into the window and blames the world for being a hard place and stays hungry. The other guy uses the money in his pocket to secure a good meal.

Networking is a lot like filling your pocket with money. Some people just don’t realize that they have great resources already available to them, or think that they can’t get what they desire in life. They just focus on the world being a hard place, while they remain hungry for a job, a new connection, a deal, or whatever it is they desire.

So take a look inside your pockets, not for business cards of people you met at the last event you attended, but for the connection you established with someone at that event.

• Did you follow up to reinforce that connection?
• Did you remember something that the two of you spoke about or heard from a speaker that was interesting to both of you?
• Did you ask a question where you really want to hear what they think?
• When is the last time you sent a personal message to someone who made a comment on a LinkedIn discussion that resonated with you?

These are the type of actions that turn a handshake and business card into the start of a new relationship.

I know you have dreams and aspirations.

And I know you are hungry.

So what are you going to do about it?

BestCustomerConnection, by Marc Sokol

(This post was initially written for the American Marketing Association and also appears in the community blog of mnama.org)


Enhanced by Zemanta

{ 9 comments… read them below or add one }

Logan Watts June 2, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Great post, Marc. To extend your metaphor further, this post makes me think about how people have a tendency to think and behave irrationally when we are hungry. Some people are so concerned with putting more stuff in their pockets (like an irrational, hungry person) that they never fully realize the potential value of what lies in their pockets already. To me, your post is about pushing the pause button and taking some time to really connect with others that we’ve already met. Thanks for the call to action and the practical tips on how to “fill my pockets”.

Marc Sokol June 2, 2011 at 1:55 pm

Hi Logan,

Great to see your comments on the post! Now you have me thinking about different approaches to networking as analogous to the types of food we eat. Really effective networking is like filling yourself with complex carbohydrates and proteins; they fuel your body for a longer time and help you function better, longer. Most networking, particularly speed networking or just trying to maximize contact names, is like filling your body with sugars and refined processed carbs; they generate a quick surge of energy and fulfillment, but before you know it you are hungry again without much to show for your efforts.

Keep filling those pockets!

Daniel M. Wood June 3, 2011 at 8:59 am

Hey Marc,

Great metaphore.
I have realized in later years the effectiviness of asking my network for help or favors (and of course helping them in return).
There is always someone in my network who knows someone who can help me.

That way doors keep getting opened.
Daniel M. Wood recently posted..80 Success Quotes that Will Bring You Motivation

Marc Sokol June 3, 2011 at 9:24 am

Hi Daniel,

Excellent advice about assuming there is someone in your network who knows someone who can help. When we are most hungry (or anxious to sell something) we tend to go for what seems to be the quickest path, but that is no longer networking; that is more like foraging for something we can consume today. Sometimes it pays off, but at the same time we might ignore the broader networking opportunities in front of us. The key seems to be staying mindful of what we want to achieve in our interactions.


Adrian Swinscoe June 3, 2011 at 2:10 pm

Hi Marc,
Your post makes me think about doing more with less. That we should concentrate on fewer deeper relationships that just card collecting. Building on what others have said and extending the food and diet analogy…….It’s the best way of fending off the feast and famine cycle that traditional broadcast marketing and networking can deliver, builds up longer term stamina, manages your ‘weight’ and allows you to stay healthy :)

Adrian Swinscoe recently posted..Is there hope for IVRs and better customer experiences in interactions

Marc Sokol June 3, 2011 at 3:17 pm

Thanks for input, Adrian. One way to be sure that we all better leverage our networking efforts would be to focus on the listening skills we employ when we network. Martin Hill-Wilson’s series of posts on listening is a good example of how much more we can achieve. As ‘experts’ on customer service and customer experience, we tend to have a lot to offer around listening, empathy and conveying brand essence in a meaningful and memorable way; hopefully we are also putting into practice what we preach when we seize networking opportunities, even when we are hungry!


Brian Davis June 3, 2011 at 8:41 pm

Marc, I love your post. The only thing I would add is , that even when you are hungry yourself, you may get better results if you feed the other person first. It may take a little longer, but developing an expanding network of people you have fed, will likely yield a lot more meals as they reciprocate your helpfulness.

Marc Sokol June 3, 2011 at 9:37 pm

Absolutely! Cultivating a reputation as one who is genuinely interested in helping others surely leads others to want to go the extra mile to help you if the opportunity should arise!

Thanks for the visit, Brian.

Pearl August 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

Love this, Marc. I particularly see myself in this one…

And speaking of me :-) I’ll be playing (clarinet) with a 40-piece band in Edinborough Park in Edina Tuesday Sept 27 at 7:00. A guy I used to play with in the Old Tyme band (yes, I said “old tyme”) in high school/college got me in. You should pop in! Bring the girls and thrill to the bellowing french horns!



Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: