You've heard that building your network is important, but how do you do that?
Seems easy for an extrovert, but what if you're an introvert?
Rewind my life 5 years ago and I'll personally answer this question for you...
When I started my business in 2007, I had few contacts. I heard networking was a good idea, so I joined my local Chamber of Commerce. After attending two events, I collected a ton of business cards yet left feeling tired and hoarse. Networking wasn't for me. Next, I attended conferences, but left feeling the same way. It wasn't until a couple of years ago that I made the switch from networking to connecting and everything changed.
Networking is a bad word. Connecting is building relationships. When I focused on meeting people, getting to know them and figuring out ways to help them succeed, results changed for me. Instead of chasing people at different events, I created my own, Career Synergy. My advice to you is create your own network group. If you don't have a desire to do that, try these 3 easy tips:
Ask current contacts to introduce you to new contacts. Think temperature. Warm leads are better than cold ones. When introduced to a new contact through an old one, you have something in common to talk about. Listen more than you talk. Ask questions before telling the person why you're so great. Start a relationship that can last over time.
Quality over quantity. Sure, it's a numbers game, but would you rather have 10 strong connections or 100 acquaintances? Strengthen what you have before you try to reach the masses. Relationships are meant to be long-term investments. Over time build trust to the point where you can refer others and vice versa.
Follow-up. 10% is meeting the person. 90% is what you do after. Starting is easy. Finishing is hard. Most people don't follow up, so if you do, you're standing out. Mean what you say when you mention following up. That's integrity. If your goal is to be a trusted connection, then follow up is crucial. Be a closer.
The next time you attend an event or get introduced to a new contact, try these tips. Networking is simply building relationships. Focus on that and you'll be fine. When you're ready to practice these skills in person, check out my network group or sign up for my workshop!