What is ABG networking?
Networking is a powerful tool for anyone, and especially for entrepreneurs.
In a field that doesn’t have a set path or hierarchy, many entrepreneurs grasp their way to success and only once they’ve achieved it, do they realize how they’ve gotten there. Networking, however, can help provide entrepreneurs many valuable benefits. Through networking, entrepreneurs can find mentors, colleagues, and business partners. While founding and running a business can be overwhelming at times, networking can offer the necessary support to keep moving forward.
Because of this, it can be easy to always have a networking mindset. Although not necessarily a bad thing, it can eventually lead to an unhealthy outlook on people. You might start calculating who you want to speak to—and who you don’t. You might not want to pursue a connection with someone if you don’t feel they can offer you or your business much. Worst of all, you may begin to always ask yourself “what can I get from this person?” anytime you meet someone new.
This mindset can be dangerous—but what’s the alternative? If networking is necessary but can be harmful when taken to the extreme, what can you do? You can’t be a good businessperson without being good at networking. So, is there even a way to engage in networking that doesn’t feel so calculating when it comes to relationships?
On Season 6 episode 25 of the Making Bank Podcast, guest Jordan Harbinger talks about his ABG networking approach. A spin on ABC – Always Be Closing – ABG is the idea of Always Be Generous. To Jordan, there is no better approach to networking, or to life, than to always be giving to others.
So, what does ABG entail? Jordan explains that ABG is the idea of helping others without expecting them to help you in return. You help when you can, and instead of keeping score, you move on. It’s easier said than done, but once you’re able to get yourself in an ABG mindset, your life will change.
But doesn’t this defeat the purpose of networking? How can you help grow yourself and your business if you’re always giving away your time and favors to others?
Rewiring Your Mindset
The first and best thing that ABG can do is get you out of an unhealthy mindset. If every time you meet someone new you ask yourself, “what can I get out of them?” you start to only view life that way. You might start to view others like commodies. You can close yourself off from many other important things. When you approach a room full of new people with the idea that you’ll talk to anyone and everyone, you’ll make more friends, connections and even business relationships than you think.
Even if someone can’t help you in your business, they may be able to help you personally in times of great difficulty. Being an entrepreneur can be lonely and burdensome – every entrepreneur (and person in general) needs a good friend. Additionally, you never truly know who can help you and when – so why burn a bridge you might need to cross one day?
After all, the point of networking is about making connections, no matter where those connections lead. If you can shed a calculating mindset, you open yourself and your business up to endless possibilities.
Restoring Your Energy
Another great reason why you should embrace the ABG mindset is that it gives you back mental energy. When you’re operating constantly with the favor mentally – “I do something for you, you do something for me” – it starts to drain you. Whenever someone asks for something, you will always have to think what you need from them in return. If you do something for them, you will keep that score for weeks, months, even years, while resentment builds. And while they’re happy with the relationship, you are not, until one day you explode and ruin the connection.
The thing is, you don’t always know what you need from another person in that moment. You might not need anything for years. So, instead of trying to do the mental gymnastics in your head and then getting upset when things don’t turn out the way you want, you can let go. Through ABG, you can free yourself from that burden and give back energy to yourself.
Building a Reputation
Once you start helping everyone you can, word will get around. You’ll grow a reputation for being generous and more people will want to interact with you. The truth of the matter is that no one wants to work with or for a jerk. No one wants to go the extra mile for someone who is rude, and especially, no one will want to help that person in times of crisis.
So, while we should always strive for good, being good also does pay off. If you do a small favor for someone that means a lot, they will remember it. They will want to do the same for you and they will eventually help you down the road if possible.
However, how do we know this? Won’t people take advantage of you?
Jordan states that although there will be a few people who will try to take advantage of you, most won’t. In doing ABG networking for over a decade, Jordan has found that most people will not try to take advantage – they may not be able to help you always, but they won’t be conniving.
Here’s another important thing. You don’t need everyone to help you back in return. If you help 100 people and most can’t help you in return, it’s not a loss. Because in those 100 people, there will always be a few who get big, and will remember you helped them when they were small. The favor from just a few people who genuinely want to lift you up is sometimes more powerful than 100 small favors from those who feel obligated.
So, when networking this year, remember to help those you can. Eventually, it comes back around.