Too often, people network solely because they expect some great end result. More business, connections, clients, etc. They forget to include karma into the goal.
When tackling online networking you must figure out how to be helpful and deliver smiles. It’s the name of the efficient networking game.
I lost focuse on being helpful and just tried pushing my talents on people. Doors slammed shut. When I focused my business on trying to make other people smile the results came easy.
My blog, Work Happy Now, receives 1,000 people a day it has been a wonderful learning experience because inevitably, I ended up teaching the things that I needed to learn. One of the biggest lessons it taught me was my superpowers of marketing (helping people build connections) is where I should put my focus.
I realized I wanted to help people promote the projects and ideas that would change people’s ways of thinking, living and doing business. So, I started Domino Connection, because there are a lot of amazingly creative people that need concrete, practical help sharing their cool ideas and products with the world, and I thought I could help, and it would be FUN.
When I was networking for my business(es), I started interviewing people because I thought it was a great networking tool (and it is!), but I slowly realized that it was fun for me. The love of digging through people’s thought processes made me excited, and I think people felt and can still feel my enthusiasm about learning their thought process.
While I was networking and interviewing other thought leaders, doors began to open up for me. I was no longer afraid to reach out and engage talented people,. By enlisting their support, my business gained a solid foundation and began to grow organically.
When I celebrated other thought leader’s ideas instead of worrying about my own, that’s when the really powerful networking started. I cared so much about the other person and their vision that they wanted to help me succeed too.
Leveraging Your Superpowers
The most rewarding way of approaching networking is as a way to celebrate other people’s awesomeness. If you can connect with people who you can help and they can help you as well, that’s when you are hitting your marketing sweet spot. The best way to connect with someone is to offer up help from one of your superpowers. It shows them how good you are and they appreciate the help.
Some suggestions on ways to do this that have worked for me are as follows:
1. Reach Out to People Who Share Your Values
I interviewed the amazing Chris Brogan after reaching out to him on his blog and social networks for over a year. I put time into following Chris because he shares many of the same values that I do. He believes in building great relationships with people through meaningful interactions. When you email Chris, he is the one that emails you back. He doesn’t believe in automating his work.
Pam Slim recently emailed me telling me that she had trouble reading the text on my “New Here” section on the right sidebar. Pam Slim doesn’t need to tell me this, but she reaches out to people that she cares about and wants to help.
It’s really that simple. Reach out to people and make them smile by just being helpful. A lot of them want to return the favor.
2. Start Small and Just Say Hi
People like to know that you admire their hard work. When you first reach out to say hi on social media, via email, or at a conference, make sure that you aren’t just saying hi and being friendly and they will love that. If you come across from the start as trying to use them for your gain, it’s unlikely that a valuable relationship will develop.
I read on Neil Patel’s blog, Quick Sprout, that he preferred that I called instead of emailed. I took this a bit literally. I don’t think he wants every blogger who wants an interview to call him, but that’s what helped me stand out. He answered the phone. I thanked him for his great blog and very quickly asked him for an interview. He told me to email him and he would have his employee, Clair, set-up the interview.
3. Be Succinct
Everyone is busy, so although you don’t want to come across as a moneygrubber, it’s important that you get to the point as quickly as you can when you are trying to build a relationship with people that could be helpful . Whether you are just saying hi, asking for an interview or wanting to help them with a project, you need to be as concise and intriguing as possible. If you aren’t, they will delete your message and move on
Whenever I email someone to propose something I’m always succinct and ask for directly what I’m seeking. I try to make the request no more than two short paragraphs. Because I respect their time many times they honor my request.
4. Offer to Help Them with a Project
People who can help your career are usually hinting at projects and concepts that you can help them with, so listen to what they need and be ready to offer your help when appropriate. They key is to be very enthusiastic with your offer. You are selling yourself, so don’t be afraid to toot your own horn. I would suggest within your email you link to your testimonial page (if you don’t have one, create one).
I emailed Natalie of Suitcase Entrepreneur because I was a fan and wanted to engage with her. I offered to help improve the conversion rate on her flagship product BYOB, Build Your Online Business. She loved the idea and we set-up a time to dissect her sales page weaknesses and created some content to help her readers. Natalie won because I helped her improve her sales page conversion rate and I won because I was introduced to her audience.
5. Stay in Touch
Most of the people you are trying to build relationships with will take effort on your part. They might not respond back to the first or even second email. They might be super busy at the time, so don’t be afraid to stay in touch and keep your awesomeness at the top of their mind. On the flip side, please don’t be spammy or stalk people with your messages. You have to find a nice middle ground with how you connect.
By staying in touch you keep the connection fresh and increase the chances at referrals. I have one designer that reached out to me by commenting on my blog, emailing me or retweeting me on Twitter. The next time I needed help with a sales page, who do you think I turned to?
I keep a journal of people to contact each month. Sure there are times I get busy and forget, but I try to reach out on a weekly basis. This consistency helps me strengthen that bound and increase my chances of a referrals and being hired for their next product launch.
Putting It All Together
Growing your business through one connection at a time, the Domino Networking Effect, you’ll build up attention and trust. The more people you help the more dominoes you’ll have in place to increase referrals and grow your business.
3 Steps to Growing Your Business and Network:
- Create a list of people to contact each month.
- Set a reminder on your calendar to reach out to them via social media or email.
- Keep track of who responds and who doesn’t so you can make your follow-up more efficient.
The keys to getting the results from your online and offline networking is repeat this process each month and staying consistent with your effort.
What have you done that has helped you build relationships with people who can help grow your career?
* You need to build deeper connections with your audience and potential clients then let’s set up a time to chat. I help my clients turn their customers into fans.
** If you want to learn more about how to leverage online and offline networking check out my good friend Mike Bruny’s site http://thenewartofconferencenetworking.com/.