Who is a good candidate for joining you in this business?

We say, “someone who is a people-person.” Yet we’ve seen people who are bona fide people-people, yet don’t go far in this business. And people who have gone far in this business, yet who are not especially people-people.

We say, “Look for people who have influence in their community.” But the same caveat applies: that correlation often fails to hold.

We say, “Look for people with whom you share a common bond.” Hmm. I have close friends who are writers or cellists who are not interested in joining my business. My two brothers, ditto.

So when you go prospecting, who are you really looking for? I think you’re looking for someone who falls in love. How do you know? There are three signs to look for.

They see it.

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder; so is opportunity. You can’t make someone see the value this business model has to offer. You can show it and explain it, but that goes only so far. They see it, or they don’t. There’s an expression in networking: “You can’t say the right thing to the wrong person, and you can’t say the wrong thing to the right person.” This is true in courtship, in genuine friendship, and in your business.

They want it.

We like to say, “Anyone can succeed in this business,” but that’s not accurate. Who can succeed here is anyone who wants to, and a lot of people don’t.

This business is not for everyone. For one thing, it’s hard work. (That eliminates quite a few candidates right there.) It also requires resilience in the face of repeated disappointment; a willingness and capacity to work in partnership with others; and faith in human nature. Most of all, it requires a compelling interest in succeeding at this business that borders on passion. This often has nothing to do with the candidate’s financial status. It’s not something you can predict or predefine; it’s an individual matter.

They do it.

This last should be obvious, but evidence suggests it’s not, because I keep seeing leaders and aspiring leaders in this business who persistently chase after, attempt to work with, struggle to figure out how to offer the right support to, and pin hopes upon people in their networks who clearly are not doing it. There are people who see it and want it, but just won’t do it. Puzzling, I know, but there it is. What’s missing? They’re not in love.

You can’t make them see it, nor want it, nor do it. You can’t make someone fall in love.

And when they do, watch out: nothing will stop them.

 

JOHN DAVID MANN is Consulting Editor to Networking Times.