Everyone knows that networking is important, but fewer people know exactly how to build a network, even though networking is perhaps the business owner's single most important skill, no matter what the industry.
The good news is that becoming a master networker does not require an Ivy League degree, wealthy parents or a membership at the country club.
Growing your network, actually, is a fairly simple process. Like most things in business, however, ensuring that includes powerful and influential people is not easy. Yet it's not complicated, either. So, if you have always held onto the limiting belief that great networking requires an advanced degree and tons of cash, then read on, and let the truth set you free.
1. Attend business meetups and personal growth events.
You know the old saying, “If you want to catch fish, go where the fish are”? Well, if you want to network with high-level individuals, then go where they go.
In this context, one of the best habits you can develop for networking success is attending business meetups in your area. For specifics, go to Meetup.com and look for industry specific events close to you. You’ll be amazed at whom you can meet just by showing up and adding value to everyone around you.
Don’t try to market yourself or your company, either. Just be genuinely interested in the other people there and you will have people marketing you.
Another great place to meet high-level influencers and industry leaders is at personal growth events like Unleash the Power Within from Tony Robbins or entrepreneur conferences like World Domination Summit from Chris Guillebeau.
Hundreds of multimillionaires, top salespeople and industry disrupting entrepreneurs attend these types of events on a yearly basis. Even if you don’t manage to network as much as you'd planned, these events will still be invaluable for your personal growth and business success.
2. Produce great content.
Imagine if, instead of having to work hard at networking and hand out hundreds of business cards (doomed for the trash can) at local business dinners, you had dozens of influencers approaching you. Sounds like a dream right?
Well, this can be your reality if you are willing to put in the work to create a high-quality online platform with even higher quality content.
If you are able to write an article or record a video that rocks the internet and goes viral in a way that helps millions, industry leaders will want to talk to you and you will no longer have to work to get them on the phone for a curt 30-second introduction.
3. Introduce two new people every week.
I forget where I first learned this concept, but its power cannot be understated: If you make it your mission to connect two new people every week without any ulterior motives, you will find your network exploding in a matter of months.
People like people who are helpful. Find an excuse every week to introduce two people who may be mutually beneficial to one another. The task need not be a big ordeal, either. Simply writing an email like the following will do:
I wanted to take a second and tell you about Jane, an absolute ROCKSTAR, at a friend’s company. I thought I’d introduce you.
I know you mentioned that you are looking to improve your marketing efforts. And Jane mentioned she was looking to get involved in marketing consulting (coincidence? I think not!). Hope everything is well, and I am excited to get you two connected :)
4. Realize that 'it is not about you.'
Let me let you in on a little secret. Most of the people you want to connect with are approached by hundreds if not thousands of people each month, all of whom bring along an attitude of WIIFM: What’s in it for me?
One of the easiest ways to set yourself apart is to completely forget your personal agenda and connect with these people in an authentic and non-needy way. So, offer value to others instead of simply grabbing stuff for yourself.
Tell them how influential they have been to you and your journey, offer to take them out for a meal and connect them with someone they might not know.
If you can master the art of authentically connecting and suspending your personal goals, you will stand out as one among many and have more success in your networking endeavors than you ever thought possible.
Networking is often seen as this big scary thing that only CEOs and “real business people” do. Nothing could be further from the truth.
No matter where you are in your business or career, no matter how big or small you feel, you have the ability to connect with the top players in your field, and do so much more simply and easily than you imagined.
So, take these tips and implement them in the coming weeks. See where it takes you. You may be surprised!