Why you shouldn't just be networking for leads...

I had a phone call today with someone I thought was a decent candidate to become a client. She was part of a large organization, had connections to all the right people, and reached out to me first (rather than the other way around). We made a date to chat via phone.

I was pumped. I need a few more good clients; she was going to be one!

I was wrong.

Pretty much right away on the phone call, I learned that she was contacting me not as a part of her current role but to talk about her start-up. She wanted to talk to someone who could help her get her own business off the ground.

I could have ended the conversation quickly.

No business would be coming my way.

But I didn't. You know why?

I don't go into every conversation looking only for leads.

Is it nice when business is a result of my conversations? Heck yes! But I have found some of the best connections are the accidental and indirect connections. The people I talk to who have no real decision making power somehow find a way to get me in front of the CEO. The man who hasn't even been at the company long enough to unpack his office can connect me, months later, with someone at a different company.

And sometimes I get to be the connection for someone else. Those times are almost as good as the ones where I get clients. Like with this woman. I had the chance to share my knowledge and help get her situated on the course towards a successful and meaningful company of her own. Maybe knowing her will lead to clients. Maybe it won't.

Does it really matter? I don't think so. I've made a friend. That's enough.