The most precious possession that one can have is a network of people that add value to each other!
BY FAR – the BEST book on Networking is the book by Harvey Mackay – “Dig Your Well Before You Are Thirsty”. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are a business owner, in sales, or trying to entice students to enroll at your university!
As you will especially notice in Harvey’s book – networking is all about others. It is about creating relationships that are not only reciprocal but tilted toward others and adding value to them.
We all have our little circles and cliques at our kids soccer games, churches, and work. Nobody has any real initiative to expand their circle of friends or acquaintances. Nobody ever really wants to get to know the new guy in the office, or sitting across the pew, or meet the parents of the new kid.
UNLESS there is something in it for them…prestige, popularity, $$$, free stuff.
UNLESS – “THAT’s the new President of the school board over there!” OR – “That kids older brother starts varsity and is being looked at by 6 Division 1 schools!”
When there is possibly something in it for me, that is when we step out of our comfort zone to go over and introduce ourselves. The networking that I am talking about is NOT about you getting something for yourself! Networking from a purist view is all about creating reciprocal relationships where YOU can add value to those who are in your sphere of influence.
If you are all about giving and adding value to others, networking will be a very satisfying part of your life. DON’T BE A USER – People will catch on very quickly and run away from you!
I met a person the other day telling me of a story of this older gentleman who was a farmer of a very large and successful farm who was going to buy a brand new Buick (with cash). He went in to the dealership where there were three salesmen that were in the showroom talking and when he walked in and they all scattered…except one guy who basically blew him off.
Ticked – the gentleman drove 30 minutes to another Buick dealership. The same thing happened with two or three seasoned salesmen running off pretending they had stuff to do when he walked in – EXCEPT – they left a young guy – still green behind the ears to help him. The young, energetic, salesman was eager to help him and show him all his options with the car that he wanted to buy. When it came to putting the offer down on the car – WITH CASH – the other salesmen’s jaws dropped. The young salesman had a great sale!
The gentleman farmer went back to the first dealership and parked his beautiful new Buick in front of the showroom and went inside and called all of the salesmen that ran off when he walked in just a few hours before and proudly showed him his new car – WITH THE TITLE! AND – made the point of telling them that he was ticked that he had to drive another 30 minutes out of his way to buy it. He further told them that no one else in his family or any of his friends would ever buy any cars from their dealership!
TOUGH lesson? Very tough!
So how do we create positive networks in our lives?
6.5 Networking Skills for Your Success:
1. NEVER judge a person by their appearance alone. Make conversation with anyone! YOU may LEARN something NOBODY else knows! Connect with them.
2. Be energetic in ALL of your relationships. Don’t blow off anyone or anything! If you see, for instance, a newspaper article about their son scoring 22 points in the high school basketball game, cut it out – send it to them. If you see an ad on TV of someone you just met…put your TV on pause and take a picture of it and text it to them. Go above and beyond what others would do to create connection.
3. Trust usually starts small. Don’t pass on an obvious business opportunity or sale thinking that it is not large enough. It could very easily turn out to be a deal of a lifetime! SOMETIMES, the person with a potentially large account starts out small to see how easy it will be to work with someone. Then when that trust and synergy is apparent, they give that person a much larger amount of responsibility or business.
4. Treat everyone like they are the King or Queen! This means looking for ways you can add value to them. Do you know what they do for a living? Do you know their favorite author? Do you know their favorite sports teams? Do you know what their hobby is? When you are out and about, and you see a really cool item pertaining to their favorite sports team – get it for them. Or – if their favorite author just released a new book – get it for them. Drop these off to them or send it to them with a handwritten note.
5. Learn from your elders. They are FULL of knowledge (and know ALOT of people!). Spend time and develop relationships with them. They have a vast experience base and often share stories that you can learn from. Let them know how important their stories are to you.
6. Keep track of your contacts by making scrupulous notes in your contact manager. Make notes by date of your connections with them and make notes about important things you learned about that person. For example: they mention that their daughter is going to graduate from college in May. Or their advanced degree that they have been working on in the evenings and weekends will be finished in June. Keeping track of information like this will allow you to remember details that are impressive when you next connect with them. Details make people feel important. Make the details important to you.
6.5 Once a week send out a handwritten card to two people to just touch base with them and thanking them for their business and connection with you. Some people just send out “gratitude” cards thanking people for being in their life.
So – What did you learn?
NOW – what are you going to do about it?