I'm taking the lessons of social CRM and applying it to my own world of networking. First the definition:

Social CRM is the business strategy of engaging customers through Social Media with (the) goal of building trust and brand loyalty. Loyalty is defined as attitude towards a brand that inclines a customer to repurchase it and/or recommend it to others. Social CRM and Social Media are more about building trust and managing loyalty with customers than about managing relationships or transactions, which are focus areas of "traditional" CRM.

I attended a six technology conferences this summer, but two stand out most. In July, I attended a vender-specific evening conference on the virtual desktop that had all the makings of a great event. It was like the old days, where they bought us dinner and drinks and then took us bowling afterward. I also attend Anatomy of an Attack by Sophos, where they also fed us. The event went from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and included lunch.

The difference between these two conferences made me clearly understand networking from the person being networked. The bowling conference consisted of five speakers all racing the clock to talk up their products, only one of which was interesting because I hadn't heard about their technology before. With the other four, I could have given the presentation myself, it was such aerial view of their technologies. I was ready to go, but in the end we stuck around for the bowling. Even that was thick with exchanging cards and asking what our three, six and one year vision is for a VDI solution. How do you answer that between throws?

The Sophos event was dense with useful information and virtually absent of sales. I haven't even received a follow up e-mail, save for my request of the PowerPoint presentation. In the old days, no follow-up would have been poor marketing, but this isn't the days of Mad Men. I know the purpose of the presentation. I know they want to sell me Sophos, but we both know it won't necessarily be in three or six or 12months.

The takeaway is clear. Sophos was interested in helping me. I want a relationship with a company that thinks about me over sales. My networking must be of the same method. I must build a trust relationship and think how I can help them, and when the opportunity is right, they'll think of me.

-- Dino Londis