Don’t Make This Networking Mistake
Who should listen: Businessowners who want to grow their network in ways that will reap rewards for their business.
Key idea: Actively engaging with the people in your network is how to help ensure they will send business your way.
Action item: In Q1 of 2022, commit to connecting with one of the 5 groups we discuss.
Attention, LinkedIn users!
Be honest . . . among all your connections, with how many have you had a genuine conversation?
Too many LinkedIn users think that the more connections they have, the bigger their professional network is. Nothing could be farther from the truth. A network is not a list of names, and it most certainly isn’t a list of names you largely don’t recognize.
What is a professional network?
A professional network is a network of professional relationships, while networking is the work involved in building those relationships. The most basic kind of networking is the giving and receiving of value—people in professional networks do favors for each other.
Consequently, while we suggest adding the 5 people below to your network, it’s important that you remain connected with them.
You should make every effort to have genuine conversations with the people in your network at least once a quarter. You should learn about their professional lives and their lives outside of business. You should offer value often and long before you ask for anything in return.
While the best way to build these kinds of relationships is to meet in person, it’s not always possible. More practical ways are to have telephone conversations, plan a Zoom call, and to connect on social media. Follow those who are in your network, comment on what they post, and share their posts with others.
However, even if you adhere to these suggestions, you’ll likely find that you can’t possibly build and maintain quality relationships with everyone in your network. That’s okay.
A smaller network of quality relationships is infinitely more valuable to you than a large network of names whose faces you can’t recall or never knew.
That said, there are people who you should strive to have in your network precisely because you can be of mutual benefit to one another.
Mutual benefit should drive network membership
We discuss how inviting these 5 types of people into your network and building relationships with them can be especially valuable to your business, your community involvement, and your personal and professional development:
- Raving fans and top advocates: Trace and record the source of every referral you receive. You may find that the people who send you the most business aren’t clients!
- Friends and family: You may think that everyone in your family knows what you do, but we promise you, they don’t. And it’s easy to forget if you aren’t reminding them. Think especially about friends and family who are out of state.
- Business partners in related fields: The opportunity to provide value to related businesses is huge. Every new client allows you to refer a host of businesses—those related to a home sale or purchase as well as those that may be around town (like where to get a good bagel).
- Mentors and mentees: You don’t need to restrict yourself to one mentor; you can have qualified mentors for different aspects of your business. You can also give back by mentoring others while sharpening your skills in the process.
- People in your field: Your peers are a great source of potential coaches and for giving and receiving referrals.
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Connect | Resources
Webinar (recorded): How to Create Profitable Partnerships for Your Business