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As an expat and entrepreneur living in Italy, Su Guillory discusses the stark differences she has observed in the approach to networking between Americans and Italians. While Americans often attend networking events purely for self-serving purposes, looking to gain customers or partners, the Italians approach networking in a more natural and genuine manner. In Italy, networking is about building relationships and helping each other out, creating a win-win situation for all parties involved.

In Italy, networking is deeply ingrained in the culture, with locals going out of their way to assist others without expecting anything in return. Whether it’s receiving a free tomato from a farmer at the market or getting a recommendation for a reliable mechanic or tradesperson, Italians are quick to lend a helping hand and connect people with the right person for the job. This genuine and selfless approach to networking has created a strong sense of community and trust among individuals in Italy.

Guillory suggests that Americans can learn from the Italian way of networking by adopting a more authentic and long-term approach to building relationships. Instead of focusing solely on closing deals or gaining customers, she encourages entrepreneurs to slow down, get to know potential clients on a deeper level, and find ways to help others without expecting immediate financial gain. By following the “I got a guy” mentality, where businesses provide excellent products and services with a personal touch, entrepreneurs can cultivate strong connections and foster loyalty among customers.

By being the best at what you do and prioritizing customer satisfaction over financial gain, Guillory believes that entrepreneurs can establish themselves as trusted and reliable resources within their communities. This approach to networking as a means of building genuine relationships, rather than simply chasing sales, can lead to long-term success and a steady stream of business referrals. By taking cues from the Italians and embracing a more altruistic mindset, entrepreneurs can create a supportive network of clients and collaborators who are willing to advocate for their services.

Guillory emphasizes the importance of viewing networking as a long-term investment in relationship-building, rather than a short-term strategy for immediate gains. By shifting their perspective and focusing on connecting with others on a personal level, entrepreneurs can deepen their understanding of customer needs and offer tailored solutions that truly address their problems. This authentic approach to networking not only benefits the business owner but also fosters a sense of trust and loyalty among clients, leading to a sustainable and thriving business.

In conclusion, Guillory encourages entrepreneurs to adopt a more authentic and generous approach to networking, following the example set by the Italian culture. By prioritizing customer relationships, providing exceptional service, and offering assistance without expecting anything in return, business owners can establish themselves as trusted resources within their communities. By embracing a mindset of genuine connection and mutual support, entrepreneurs can create a strong network of loyal customers and collaborators who will advocate for their brand, leading to long-term success and sustainable growth.

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