Carl Lucchi, owner of I Refuse 2 fail has over 45 years experience in sales, marketing and business development + developed a unique business national virtual networking organization.
Can you share a little about what makes you an authority on building a great network?
After starting a local business networking organization in 2010 I realized 7 years later that most conventional networking groups were not providing what the attendees were wanting. I personally stopped networking in 2017 to research and develop a better formula that will work in most all networking situations. After almost two years of interviews, polls and surveys I developed a simple networking formula and platform. In 2022 I started the I Refuse 2 Fail Partnership plus our free 15+30 networking events.
How important is networking for professional success, and why?
Business Networking is not the end all for professional success but it should be done as part of your success. The only issue I have with business networking today is why and how people utilize most business networking.
What's your usual ice-breaker question when meeting someone for the first time?
What is your name and what do you do?
How do you approach networking differently when you're meeting someone in person versus virtually?
The only difference might be a literal handshake vs a virtual one.
What are some common mistakes people make when trying to build their professional network, and how can they avoid them?
This more than I can cover in a brief interview. After developing mu networking formula I did in person two hour "Master Your Networking" workshops to answer this quaetion. i did these until covid started. I am now developing one hour presentations on the topic. The short answer would be you do not need an elevator sales pitch, pass out business cards at every event, stop having the typical 1-2-1 you have been taught and stop asking for referrals. There is a better way!
Have you noticed any differences in the types of relationships you build through in-person versus virtual networking? If so, can you describe those differences?
No difference because the goal is the same!
What are some strategies you've found effective for building rapport and establishing trust with someone you've only just met?
Make it all about them! Networking is not about you it is about helping others. My philosophy is the same as Zig Ziglar "You can have everything you want in life if you will just help enough others get what they want"
How can someone use social media and online networking to expand their professional network?
People can invite others to join them at their favorite networking meetings events and groups if they are passionate about helping others and building know, like and trust. Doing virtual networking online provides opportunities that in person does not. I have met, assisted and connected many people all over the U.S. and Canada. When I had my local group it was only within abut a fifty mile radius.
What advice would you give to someone who is new to networking and trying to make connections in their industry?
Don't follow conventional business wisdom!
Remember, it is not about you, it is about developing a group of unpaid sales people who want to connect you to others
If you don't know of a person to train you how to network properly find one.
Your goal is not to be interesting but interested. You need to have a goal of helping others in order to gain know like and trust. When you make it about the other person they will reciprocate and that starts the domino effect of being connected with more new quality people.
Only attend networking meetings, events and groups that do not follow conventional networking wisdom but instead provide opportunities for you to meet, connect and collect others who are like minded.
Understand that networking is simple but not easy. It is a marathon not a sprint! You also need to treat your favorite events, meetings and groups like a business appointment. Show up early and on a regular basis, participate and invite others. If only 12 people invite one person per month to their favorite event everyone including you will have an opportunity to meet, network and help over 100 new people every year.