How to Network Like a Pro
Networking is the most important part of advancing in your life. But what I don’t understand is why only a handful of B-schools have included it in their curriculum so far?! When it is even more imperative for young entrepreneurs to network efficiently to level up in their life.
Networking is about building relationships which always lead to future opportunities for both parties, in terms of help, advice, and often business.
I often told my friends in college that they are more likely to get a job based on who they know rather than the marks on their degree or work experience.
“It’s not what you know, but who you know”. This is true not just in business but in life. And it doesn’t matter if they are from inside (of course it helps) or outside of your domain; if they are interesting or influential enough they could be a great asset in your contact list.
Also, you never know who knows who. I know each connection that I make gives me access to at least ten more people (in their network). So, If you make just one new connection a day you would probably have 365 new connections in one year that can easily give you access to 3650 new people. And those numbers are bare minimum.
Your network and your networking skills will further intensify your value.
Those who have managed to develop their networking skill have been able to use it to great success. I would not describe myself as an expert on networking, but I have been using these four key principles to get in touch with influential people and in getting new clients.
Four tips to Network like a Pro
1. Work on Yourself
When you work on yourself, you stand out in the crowd and you automatically become more attractive to others.
Increase your value – that’s of utmost importance. Think about the main reason that you want to increase the number of contacts that you have. It is so that you have a collection of people that you can turn to when you need something. Well, the same rule applies to you as well. Why would anyone want to connect with you if you have nothing to offer.
I am an entrepreneur which puts me in a good position. I invested my key time learning about health, nutrition, social media marketing and online businesses which is what I use to project myself when I network.
Also, most people are either themselves (or have someone in their family) struggling with some health related issues, either they want to lose weight, gain muscles or want to get fit. I am well versed in health and fitness that way I am able to provide value to them by giving them advice, support or directing them to a good source.
If you have something to offer them in return, people are going to be interested in having you as a contact. This is why the first thing that you are going to have to do is work on yourself. Prior to reaching out to others, you will first need to see how you can make yourself more attractive to them.
Try to improve your skillset or abilities in a way that will make others notice you and see you as a valuable asset.
2. Make an Introduction
After you have developed your value, the next step involves getting others to notice you. Of course, first you are going to have to make a list of the people that you want in your network.
Now, this group does not only need to include people you don’t know, maybe they are somebody you already know. Use the people that you know to get you in contact with those that you would like in your contact circle.
Get in front of them, make an introduction. When I send an email or try to connect with someone over social media, I make sure to appreciate their work before I project myself as an expert on any subject. They might do a little background check on google, maybe read my blog, check my social profile – Facebook, Instagram. If they see value (which most of the times, they do) they connect.
How you choose to make contact is entirely up to you. However, you should consider the method that will most likely get you noticed and will also garner you a reply. Typically, the most popular forms are through email or social networking sites such as LinkedIn. Nonetheless, you may be able to contact them directly through other platforms like Twitter.
3. Do Something Without Expecting Anything in Return
If you try to pitch or sell something you’d be considered a sucker and completely ignored. Try to add something to their lives. I once spent 10 hours straight doing a transcription job for a high authority blogger. What happened next? I got direct access with him on Skype and his audience (his five years of labor).
I have done social media marketing and content writing for a couple of influencer’s without any expectation before I secured my first $1000 client.
To network like a pro, you must build trust-factor. Networking shouldn’t be transnational, but too often it’s approached in such a way. Play the long game and build relationships for the sake of building the network.
“Give more, serve more and attract the right people”
Often times people miss opportunities to network because they feel intimidated, particularly if the other person is more senior. However, there is very little downside when aiming high, other than a bruised ego from time-to-time. The worst that can happen is they say “no” or ignore you. At that point, it is onward and upward!
One of the reasons that some individuals are hesitant to form business relationships with certain people is because the need is palpable. In most cases, people only want to network with other individuals as they require something from them. This is a bad way to begin a working relationship.
If you really want to stand out, you first must help others out with a problem they may be having. This, as you can imagine, involves you doing some research on situations that you can help with. If there is an issue that you can solve, simply contact the person in question and then offer the solution.
In addition to being able to impress this person with your abilities, you set yourself apart when you do not ask for anything in return.
In his book, The Education of Millionaires, Michael Ellsberg explains that every person is currently facing some kind problem in his life. He puts the problem into five different spheres: relationships, health, hobbies/passion, business, and spirituality.
He states that only a select few people are well-rounded in all of these spheres. When looking to build a new connection, he suggests to do a research or simply ask the person to see what area you can be of service.
He suggests that often people are very successful financially, but their health is a mess, or their relationship is a mess. Now, if you can help them in one of these areas that they don’t have handled, that’s where you can give. Once you do it, you’ll have made a meaningful impact on their life and you will have made a powerful new friend.
4. Request for a Small Favor
Yes, this is an actual psychological effect that has been documented. It’s called as the foot in the door technique. Start off by first asking for a small favor, it should be something that a person can do quite easily, with minimal effort on their part.
Small favor = Big success
This follows the principle that if someone has already agreed to do you a small favor, they will similarly comply with a larger one. As, once an initial trend has been established, most people will find it difficult to say ‘no’ the next time you ask them for something.
This is what you will need to know if you want to network like a pro. Work on these four principle areas and you will be able to effectively create and foster any network that you want.
Sometimes it’s individuals completely outside your immediate sphere that end up being a connector or offering the savvy advice that propels you forward at a crucial junction.
Be willing to meet, connect and help. Remember, the connections that you make pay you over long.