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Massage Today
April, 2001, Vol. 01, Issue 04

Excuse Me – Have We Met?

By Perry Isenberg

"You need to attend this meeting, you'll meet people who will help you sell more product."

"Networking," the single most overused word, is also the single most misunderstood concept.

"It's not what you know, it's who you know" is the second most misunderstood concept.

I feel comfortable in saying that neither my partners nor myself have ever made a point of "getting close to someone" for the purpose of the almighty dollar.

Writing this monthly column is never about promoting myself or our company. It is about an opportunity to express my views and share my experiences with a select group of people who may find what I share interesting, useful, stimulating, and at times, possibly entertaining. If this column's goal was to promote our company, we would be better served spending money on advertisements in this excellent publication. (Time is money, and I do spend time to deliver a meaningful column.)

This column is a challenging, fun, and rewarding experience -- that is why I do it.

That being said, I've received numerous e-mails from readers expressing their opinions (positive, thankfully), and a few with business opportunities.

Do you see my point? Without any intention, I've managed to talk with people that may become personal friends, business associates or, dare I say, business partners. All because I'm doing something I enjoy and that allows me to be me, to express my thoughts.

I'm not going to say that networking -- the concept of methodically putting yourselves in a position to meet people to help you make more money -- does not have its place, but for the most part, I don't have much use for the concept.

I have met and known hundreds of people who may have been able to help me make more money, but I did not maintain a relationship with anyone just for financial gain. That's the essence of networking.

Please understand this: every business executive and salesperson will cast me out to the wolves for suggesting that networking is evil. Well, it is evil when everything we hold true and right is shoved to the side for the sake of money. Would you like to do business with people you don't trust or like, simply because they can make you more money? I wouldn't if I felt that way before a business relationship started.

How can we successfully network without being shallow? We start with changing the name and concept from networking / financial gain to "relationshipping" / associating.

The name change alone changes the focus to emphasize that the initial contact will be based on developing an individual relationship, rather than numbers of contacts. It also changes the concept of "for purpose of financial gain" to being mutual, "even" associates. This concept is so much more rewarding, both for the soul and the bank account.

Attend meetings and functions because you want to, not because you think you need to.

Talk with people -- look for people you think you would like to know, not those you think you need to know.

None of this advice applies to people who need to know hundreds of people because their job is to know hundreds of people, such as salespeople, consultants, etc.

I have a relationship with a health professional who I suspect at times believes I maintain our relationship to help our company sell more product. The fact is, our initial contact was based on a mutual interest to help support and improve the medical profession. Everyone at our company takes pride in giving back to the industry that supports us.

When you meet people, don't network - just meet people, be yourself, keep what you hold true first and foremost, and your world will expand beyond your wildest dreams.

Until next month, be healthy, be good, stay focused and motivated.

Click here for previous articles by Perry Isenberg.


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