I hear this quote at networking groups all the time: “People do business with people they know, like and trust.” This expression drives me crazy – it may be partly true but what is more true is people do business with people who provide the most value. People buy from big box stores – even though they don’t know the cashier, the store manager or the company owner. They don’t like shopping there – very crowded, hard to park, a pain to carry your stuff back to your house, and most people don’t really trust the customer service – a real inconvenience to return something. Yet they get the most value (best selection, best prices) so they put up with other things.
The better quote would be, “people do business with those who provide the most value who they also know, like and trust.” If the people who you know, like and trust want to help you but are unable to, then you just made a friend, not a business colleague. You should only network with others who are most likely to be able to provide each other the most value, then work hard to create relationships with those people to get to know them, like them and trust them. Only then will you be networking to build your client base vs. building your “friend base.”
Jonathan Rosen is Founder of Collaberex www.collaberex.com which forms and facilitates business development groups in the NY Metro Area.