Having a great network is key to surviving and winning!
Over the Easter long weekend, I have had the chance to keep reflecting on what’s happening around me and this is my COVID diary entry for today!
As a recruitment agency and sales agency owner, I have had more clients in the last 4 weeks putting their services on hold than ever before! Whether it has been due to recruitment freezes, or because they don’t want to generate sales within the current climate, they are unable to run their business as usual or just unsure on what the future holds. In this current climate, they are all very valid reasons.
But… I am fortunate enough to keep signing new clients – my most recent client was signed on Saturday! I feel very grateful and lucky considering all that is happening. I put my plan together for my new client on Easter Monday. I feel a similar energy and emotions running through my veins as I did when signing my first client over 10 years ago. But this time it feels different, like I found a short cut. It feels like I cheated. I really want to say the new business comes from my raw talent and my polished skill set but, in all honesty, it just comes from my network.
They do say that your net worth can be measured by your network. Here are my thoughts on building the right network, to hopefully survive and then thrive.
It doesn’t matter if you are new to the market or a seasoned professional, you want the right people to know you.
So, do people know you? Are you building your personal brand? Will they think of you when the time is right?
Whether you want to admit it or not, it’s always been about who you know not just what you know because it gets you in the door! It gives you a shot to make an impression. It’s not just about creating a LinkedIn profile and connecting with people or going to events and collecting business cards. It’s about what you do once you’ve made that initial connection. It’s about the follow up.
Who makes up your network?
It includes your people, future business partners, customers, suppliers, mentors, your team and anyone that gets in touch with you.
How are you helping your network on a regular basis? How are you nurturing your network?
No one likes the friend that only calls when they want something… So, don’t be that person. Don’t just call “Clients” when you want something! Make it a regular habit of calling them to check in, call to say hi!! 👋🏻 Take your clients out for lunch and message them and say thanks as often as you can!
Look at how you can help all your network!
On Wednesday I’m dedicating the whole day to have 1 on 1s with my team just to see how everyone is going.
For the last 6 years I have offered up an hour and a half every morning before I start work each day for staff, ex-employees, friends or people I’m mentoring to book me in for causal catch ups, to discuss development, accountability or answer questions.
What are you doing with your people?
Do you have a mentor?
Are you currently mentoring people?
If not… make a start!
You are constantly building your network!
I choose to treat everyone I get in contact with, with enthusiasm, interest, engagement and positivity. You never know where the next opportunity will arise from.
With this understanding your network will grow as they get to know who you are as a person… a real human. This is how you build your fan base.
Leave everyone on a positive! It isn’t hard trying to make people around you have a better day! Smile, be positive, show enthusiasm and interest to customers, colleagues, potential clients and especially to people that say “NO”.
My personal mission each day is to try and make people smile when I speak to them.
So, who are the right people to connect with?
Research says anyone and everyone.
Researchers announced the theory on the six degrees of separation was pretty accurate. By studying billions of electronic messages, they worked out that any two strangers are, on average, distanced by precisely 6.6 degrees of separation. You are linked by a string of seven or fewer acquaintances to Madonna, the Dalai Lama and the Queen.
If you want to save time, then sticking with people within an industry, market, city or career would increase these chances of getting connected.
But… once you are connected remember to reach out!
Here are my top tips for how to win at networking:
1. Understand people – Learn about different cultures, religions, traditions and understand what makes people tick.
2. Be curious – When you are in front of people ask a lot of questions!! Be keen to learn and understand! You have two ears and one mouth. If you listen more then you talk you will learn something.
3. Be likeable – I use this in two ways! Be likeable and be like a bull. Be aggressive towards your goals and ambitions but people need to like you in order for them to want to help you.
4. Be generous – Are you the person getting drinks, dinner bought for you all the time? Don’t be a tight arse it could cost you a coffee, a beer or food. People wait for mentors or people to pay for everything. If you want to win buy a beer or dinner for your mentor, key stakeholders and colleagues.
5. Don’t burn bridges – smile and wave!! People, events and situations at times can be frustrating. People let their ego dictate relationships and how events and situations unfold. People that win smile and wave and don’t get caught up in the emotions. Most of the time it will have no relevance.
6. Be honest – You build trust by showing you understand firstly and then by showing them you can do what you say you can.
7. Say YES to every opportunity – even though it may be out of your way and not very viable. I have had to work on smaller margins to help a client with cash flow but it has worked out as we were able to build a meaningful long-term relationship.
8. Lastly, you need to get results and show you will you go about your business in the right way.
People overestimate what they can do in one year, but underestimate what they can do in 10 years. You never know where people will be in 10 years, but the chances are your network will become more educated, wiser and helpful as you grow.