Hey everyone, Today we’re going to talk about networking and specifically business networking, and how to build professional relationships. I love this topic. I love this topic because I love people, I always like expanding my network. I love building new relationships. I love learning from people. I love helping people. But, for you all out there, no matter what your job is, over the length of your career, your network and its health and strength is going to be your single greatest advantage in succeeding in your career. Sure, a lot of you start now,

you have some smarts, some hard work, good job, all that sets you in the right direction, but over the long-term, over a multi-decade career that simply will not be enough to be truly successful. So, want to talk about two major areas related to networking. Number one, my seven key principles for how to do it successfully and then a five-step plan of attack to execute those principles. And I think that’s a big, big advantage for you is to know exactly how to do this. So, let’s get right into those principles. This is really to level set us all. I know a lot of you know this principle but just because you know them doesn’t mean you’re going to be successful.

Networking Bank

Let’s get a running start with those. Number one, my first success principle on networking is, it’s an all-the-time thing. You need to do it all the time. If you only do it when you need it, you’re not going to be successful, and most, most of the time, when you need to network it’s already too late if you don’t already have a healthy one if you haven’t already built it. So, that’s number one it’s an all the time thing, you need to be very, very consistent. Number two, give, give value first to the other people before you ask for something.

And it could be anything, but whatever value you can provide, you’re time, energy, education, favors, whatever it might be, but give them value first. Number three, you want to give more than you take. Put more into the networking bank. You want to make sure that you’re giving more, you build up a bank of goodwill, you start to earn a reputation as a giver, that’s areally, really, key one.

Number four is about building lasting relationships and the only way you can do that is to do it live. This is human interaction, the dialog in person, or at least on the phone but you want to make sure that you’re spending time, the other person can see you and hear you. So, you want to make sure that you’re doing it live. Number five, this is where you build trust, always follow through and do what you say you’re going to do, whether it provides them some information, make a referral, whatever it might be.

Systematic Plan

You want to make sure that you’ve known for having a good word. That your word is your bond, you are trustworthy, you are dependable. That’s number five. Number six, you want to make sure that you are moving it forward. You want to expand your network. So, you want to make sure you’re thinking, how can I help expand this person’s network? you want to move it forward, you want to expand their network, which is a big, big key to networking in general.

The point is for both of you or any of you or whoever you’re interacting with, to grow your networks, to grow them, to meet new people. Number seven, even though this is human interaction, you still have to have a systematic plan that allows you to execute it effectively, you have to have a plan. We’re going to talk for the rest of this video, we’re going to talk about that plan but I want you to realize, these seven tenants, these principles that I just mentioned. I know a lot of you know them. You’ve probably read books and seen blog posts.

A lot of them just leave you here. What’s going to make you successful is the first principle, be consistent, do it all the time, and the last principle that I mentioned, you got to have a plan. So, let’s talk about that. Now, I’m going to give you the plan that has served me well over multiple decades and I’ve been doing this for many, many years. I have an extremely healthy network, this process works. Now, the first place to start, which many people, some can see this inherently but others don’t recognize this.

Networking Goals

You have to set your networking goals. Just dialing up people, calling them, and emailing them isn’t going to get you where you need to be, you have to have a goal. And what do I mean by goals? I think there are many goals but there are four worth mentioning now. You might just want to educate yourself or advance your knowledge in particular areas or markets or industries, or whatever it might be. So, simple education could be a goal. camaraderie, sharing, that could be a goal. What about you job hunters? Getting your next job, that could be a goal or some type of career-related goal.

Or, maybe you’re a business owner or maybe you’re a corporate employee but you’re looking to grow your partnerships and you’re looking to grow your channels or you’re looking to secure new customers. then what I would do is I would try to identify somewhere between 60 to 100 people that you can connect with over the year. Doesn’t have to be all at once. You’re trying to build yourself a nice list of individuals, not everybody’s going to get back to you, so you want to make sure that you’re identifying the right people.

You never know, they might help expand, by the end of the year you might have 200 people but spend an hour a month just looking, gathering this research, trying to identify these individuals who can help you but you have to identify the individuals. Number four, you want to start drafting the messages and the communications that you’re going to use to reach out to them. Now, I’m not talking about putting static templates together for everybody.

Relationship Map

I’m just talking about you, you’ve probably got three or four consistent messages that you’re going to send out to people. If you don’t know them very well, you might want to send them a cordial email. If you don’t know them at all and they’re hard people to get a hold of, you might want to be a little more formal. But whatever your tactic is going to be, you want to have a couple of pre-canned messages that you can then tailor for each individual. But, so that you’re not constantly writing them over and over again, you want to make sure that you’ve got some templates.

So, I would just spend some time, you only need to build those once. You can massage them however you need to whenever you get to the point where you’re going to contact somebody in particular. So, executing the plan for me is, at the beginning of every month, I go into my list of people and my relationship map. I look at five people that I would like to contact, whether I call them or email them and I send them a message around the first of the month, just seeing if they want to get together, whether it’s on the phone, lunch, coffee, dinner, whatever it might be, a Saturday afternoon, however, it might be.

But, you want to pick a handful of people, five or six folks that you want to reach out to. You want to send them your message and you want to give them about a week to get back to you. Everybody’s busy and five people may sound like a little or it may sound like a lot but keep in mind, the goal here is to try and spend some time with them, not just shoot them a quick email. So, you want to give them a chance, if all five of them get back, then you got to find some time in your calendar. Now, all five of them might not. If they don’t, after week one, reach into your list of people in your relationship map.

Specific Regiment

Pull another one out and keep going. And you want to do this, throughout the year and you can continually grow that list of 60 to 100 people, you can add to it. But the point is, you’ve now got five steps and you could massage this plan however you need to meet your particular goals but the point is to have some specific regiment. So, let’s just review it. You want to make sure that you’re directed, number one, you want to identify your goals. Number two, you want to do the research, you want to build a relationship map and you want to identify the individuals you want to reach out to and you want to target individuals who you don’t know who you might want then to reach out to.

Then, you want to gather and put a plan together for say 60 to 100 people that you can contact every month throughout the year. You want to, number four, you want to develop your communications with them so that you can quickly grab the template you need and shape it for how you want to direct it to them. And number five, then you want to execute.

So, whether it’s the beginning of every month, the middle of every month, the end of every month. You want to reach out to five to six people so that, with the goal in mind to spend some time with them to develop both of your relationships, build that trust, expand those networks and all those other principles that we talked about, so that you can also build deep relationships that’ll help you over the long haul. So, I hope that helps.

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