Of all the valuable advice, I received in the last thirty years in marketing; the single greatest insight was how important it is to nurture, maintain and build your network.
If you aren’t reaching out to people every week that you know on LinkedIn or similar contact collection systems, you are missing a big opportunity. And I’m not talking about networking when you get laid off or leave your job, I’m talking about every single work day.
You need to reach out to help others, not to ask for assistance. That’s the big secret.
Networking isn’t about asking someone to help you but offering your help and opening up your network to them. Helping is a lesson I learned by watching both of my grandfathers when I was a boy. I’d see them always assisting other people and not asking for anything in return. Not surprisingly, I also observed it as a regular behavior by my Mom and Dad too. I can hear my grandfather, Poppa George ask me, “who did you help today?”
It is a Game of Give and Take
As The Supremes sang in 1966, you can’t hurry love, and it is a game of giving and take. By offering to help others, you build trust, friendship and personal equity. So that one day, if you need a favor, your connection will be happy to help you. Have you read Gary Vaynerchuk’s Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook? He succinctly explains this concept.
Five Habits of Master Marketing Networkers
Help Them First: In reconnecting with someone you have spoken with in a long time, ask them how you can be of service to them. Don’t ask for anything in return. Help them succeed. Introduce them to someone in your network who might assist them. Get them connected to a group or team of colleagues who can serve their needs. Give first and don’t expect anything in return today. Consider your action like a networking IOU that you may cash in sometime in the future.
Daily Networking: Add everyone you meet to your network database the day you meet. I think of networking like a daily vitamin pill. Every day you meet at least one new business contact. Get their contact information and find a reason to connect with them. I do this every day and have been doing it for the last 30 years.
Weekly Networking: Spend time thinking about who you can introduce that could help both parties. I block time each week for connection activity where I introduce two people who don’t know each other but where the connection might help both parties. It is a conscious activity and important enough to invest one hour every week.
Annual Networking: Reconnect once per year to your top connections. You should touch base with most of your network at least once per year. LinkedIn makes it easy to connect with thousands of contacts by publishing posts about your ideas and helpful insights in your field. This week I reconnected with someone I hadn’t spoken with for three years. He told me he regularly reads my posts on marketing and follows my writing. There is a business opportunity for both of us, and if I didn’t take action, our reconnection wouldn’t have occurred.
Ask for Help: Don’t be shy about asking for help. After years of helping others, I don’t hesitate to ask for an occasional favor if it is someone I have helped in the past. I do it with intention and am not fearful of rejection. What’s the worst thing that will happen- someone says no, I’m sorry, I can’t help you.
Networking is one of the life forces of marketing. Connecting people, products or businesses can make you a hero and a friendly helper. For more on this topic, this is the best book written on this subject Give and Take by Adam Grant.
Poppa George would ask, “who have you helped today?”
Note from last week’s blog: If you couldn’t see the DID YOU KNOW video from my last post, here is a link to it. Copy and paste this link into your browser: https://youtu.be/rJZ7GCRssPw – Something funky happened on WordPress and I can’t figure out why it shows on my PC but not on the iPhone or RSS feed.
If you aren’t actively helping others succeed through effective networking, you are holding back your own success. Need some coaching on this topic? I can help. Call me at 919 270 0995 or email@example.com
Photo from Unsplash by Redd Angelo – marked as safe and free.