I’ve been asked why I spend so much time networking at the bottom of the ladder. First of all, I really do not see networking as a proverbial ladder, but I understand where the question is coming from. In other words, “if you are trying to get to the CEO, why are you spending so much time with the subordinates?”
Clearly the question comes from someone that does not understand the nuances of networking. It takes a strong base to reach the top. If your base is strong, you do not have to worry about tumbling down, loosing momentum while ascending, or the wind blowing your ladder over. Again, this is looking at networking a company, purely as a proverbial ladder.
Yet another example of why to do this is the old Walter Mizner adage: “Be kind to everyone on the way up; you’ll meet the same people on the way down.”
I have spent a great deal of my career in medical sales. Calling on physician, nurses, executives, etc. In my days of calling on doctor’s offices, I learned very quickly that my access to the physician was dependent on the way that I treated the staff. While the physician held all of the prescriptive authority, the receptionist, nurse, and business manger held the power to “pencil me in” to the doctor’s schedule (or not). I became better friends with the staff than I ever did with the physicians that I called on. And as a result, I had better access in the clinic than many of my competitors.
But truthfully, if you really want to know why I spend time networking with individuals that have no control over my business or my sales success here is the answer: BECAUSE IT IS THE HUMAN THING TO DO. I do not talk to people only because they can “do something for me” today or tomorrow or twenty years from now. I do it because people interest me. If it happens to benefit me or my business, great. If not, I still see it as a victory.
People are human regardless of title, maybe it’s time we recognize that. Happy networking.