Technology: it’s a blessing and a curse. Why a blessing? Because it expands our ability to communicate effectively and efficiently. Why a curse? Because people don’t use it properly or understand its nature!

How the Internet Doesn’t Work
I consistently see networkers buying lead lists, sticking them into a system designed to present, and then follow up with e-mail autoresponders. They expect to have people join and do the same thing.

This is a losing proposition. If you’re lucky, the best you can expect is 1 in 5000 to be the “right person” you’re looking for. Why would we bother the 4999 that your message won’t connect with? Because we’re told, “Automation is the key to online success!…Massive exposure is why you need to network online…Everyone is your prospect!”

The Internet is a powerful networking playground and it can be a powerful force in your business—if you use it correctly. As you sit at your keyboard, you have over 200,000,000 English-speaking people at your fingertips—and some of them are looking for what you have! As that number grows (and it will), wouldn’t you prefer to be a competent Internet networker rather than a “throw it against the wall” type? You can be!

What the Internet Is—And Isn’t
The Internet is not about marketing. Nevertheless, people get all excited to tap into the mass market they think it presents. Just think of how you are bombarded in advertising messages: are you really reading them all—or just the ones that connect for you?

The Internet has created a world of readers who skim. Your first sentence will either repel someone or pull them in. (What does your first sentence say?)

In my years as a networker, I have gotten one thing very clear: solve people’s problems, and you will create a relationship that will turn into a partnership. I have never been able to figure out why networkers “pitch” to deaf ears, instead of assuring they have a person with an open mind who wants to explore the possibilities.

Networking works because word-of-mouth-advertising works. So, who do you think will listen to your message? People you know, people who know you care!

Networking is what the Internet is all about: forums, discussion lists, newsgroups, and instant messengers give anyone a powerful way to connect with people who are just like them. Why buy leads, when you can tap into real people and find out whether they are a match for you?

What excites me about the Internet is the ability to collaborate with people to build my business. In two years, I created a downline in excess of 3000—without advertising or buying lead lists. I did this all from the Internet, with no offline techniques other than the telephone, which I use to assure that the connection is real for both of us.

The Powerful Consumer
There has been a shift in the balance of power between businesses and consumers. New communication and information technologies are producing more powerful consumers who want to fulfill more personal needs and wants. Mass marketing is ineffective when consumers are so empowered. Failing to recognize this will significantly reduce your chances of success in any business.

Today, customers and prospects determine everything. Thanks to the Internet and the instantaneous flow of information, customers are more knowledgeable about companies, products and services than ever before. When they get ready to buy, they now have more options than ever, thanks to an increasingly borderless, interconnected world. The customer is totally in charge, totally in command, and determines the future of business.

Networkers have a real advantage when it comes to the Net simply because we like people, we are willing to educate, and we are coming from a place of contribution. In fact, the Internet was built for networkers! In our business we understand that you get what you give; this is nowhere more true than on the Internet: on the Net, the more you give, the more you get.

How Do You Get What Money Can’t Buy?
You can begin connecting with others by doing a simple assignment to focus on the type of people you will easily connect with. This will help you fish for life on the Net, so that you never run out of prospects!

First, make a list of things you do for pleasure, things you know a lot about, and things you want to learn. With your lists in hand, go to any search engine. With each item on your list, you will find you can easily meet many others with similar interests.

The key to success on the Internet is to ask questions. Become a master at questions that are open-ended and show you have an interest in the person’s life.

Build trusting, purposeful, win-win relationships with everyone with whom you
interact. How do you do that? You start by adopting a new perspective and having the patience to follow-through
on it.

Don’t buy into automation without the personal touch it takes to connect with someone and explore whether you can make a difference in his life. It means the difference between creating a temporary income or a permanent one.

Cheryl Gonzalez is founder of EZNetGroup.net, a company helping networkers get the most from their online follow-up systems. She lives with her husband Vic in San Antonio, Texas.