It’s so funny to me that some people still don’t see the need for networking. Once upon a time, I honestly believed that I could build a business from nothing and take it to the heights that I wanted to reach…..all alone. After continuous burnout and passing out from exhaustion every single night, I knew that there had to be a better way. A few nights a week is ok, but every night takes a toll for sure. I had this revelation that building strong professional relationships with other people could be the ticket.
The challenge is building your business with the right people and these are not necessarily the people that you have the most in common with on a personal level. There is a time to relax and hangout and another time to hustle and grind. If you ignore the second half of that last sentence, enjoy your mediocrity.
That’s deep, I know…but critical to understand if you are serious about becoming the best at what you do.
Building a strong and cohesive team is incredibly important, but we are going to focus on building your network with people who can help take your business to the top. When you hear the word “network” what comes to mind? LinkedIn? Perhaps even local networking events? Chamber of Commerce meetings? BNI groups? I think it’s great if you attend one or more of these, but what I am curious to know is what you hope to get from all of these.
Did you just say “networking” out loud?
This is technically the right answer, but most people are taking the wrong approach. People assume that by simply showing up, they will make amazing connections, and then their business will automatically prosper. The reality is that this seldom happens because effective networking requires real action! Check out the definition of this word that is in red:
connect as or operate with a network.“the stock exchanges have proven to be resourceful in networking these deals”
link (machines, especially computers) to operate interactively.“networked workstations”
interact with other people to exchange information and develop contacts, especially to further one’s career.“the skills of networking, bargaining, and negotiation”
Are you ready for me to tell you how networking can level up your business? You must actively seek out people who have skills, experience, or other value to potentially offer your organization. To get to another level, you must surround yourself with people on another level. Perhaps you are not extroverted and walking into a room full of strangers and talking to everyone isn’t your thing. No problem.
The beauty of technology is that you can still do this without the face to face experience. I believe LinkedIn is the best example of this that I know of. When you seek someone out for networking purposes, you have got to think about what you bring to the table as well. Is it a promotional opportunity for them? Do you have skills or experience that they may need now or in the future? There are a lot of things to think about in this area for certain.
There’s a time and place to sell and another time and place to focus on fostering new and beneficial relationships. This is the separation that I am striving to point out right now. Networking with the intent of getting to the highest level that you can possibly get to is going to require you to leave your comfort zone. Nothing good comes from your comfort zone, ever! When was the last time you made a connection that made you think your business may explode because of it? If you have never experienced this, then you have some soul searching to do my friends. The opportunities are out there, but are you willing to look for them?[Tweet “Networking with the intent of getting to the highest level that you can possibly get to is going to require you to leave your comfort zone.”]
The old saying goes that “birds of a feather flock together,” and this couldn’t be truer. Are the people that you network with the same people that you do everything else with, personally and professionally? Take some time and think about that one for awhile. Could you be leaving an opportunity that is right under your nose on the table?
Think about the businesses that you most admire, whether competition or in an unrelated industry. Do some research on the people within and around that organization. Phenomenal companies are always full of phenomenal people and this level of success attracts, even more, people who are also at the top of their game.[Tweet “Phenomenal companies are always full of phenomenal people.”]
In the new edition of “Networking Like a Pro”, networking experts Dr. Ivan Misner and Brian Hilliard reveal key networking techniques to help you grow your business.
You’ll learn how to:
- Attract the right people with a carefully crafted Unique Selling Proposition
- Gain your most valuable customers with referrals from networking partners
- Make your best first impression with the 12 x 12 x 12 Rule
- Choose networking events and activities that best fit your needs
- Build and expand your network with a calculated follow-up strategy
- Avoid behaviors that damage your reputation and push potential partners away
I would like to hear how networking with the right people has helped change the face of your business. Tell us all about it in the comments!
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