Let’s be clear… all people have value and we can learn from everyone; however, EVERYONE isn’t for you, where you’re going, or your professional and personal vision and evolution! You may have heard many Motivational Speakers exclaim, “You’re the sum of the five people you hang around”. It’s a statement that’s said a lot… and it’s for a reason! Show me your circle… and I’ll show you your future and your bank account, Lol! Your Professional Network works the same way. Whether you’re in the C-Suite, Middle-Management, a Front-Line Employee, just started yesterday, or an Entrepreneur… being around “The Right People” matters.
When I started my business, I clearly remember walking into my first Networking Event. I knew very few people, I had no idea what to say, who to speak to, or what was going to happen. To my surprise, I left the event with 3 new Members for my business and was offered free space to host my (at the time) monthly meetings! Later, I met a gentleman who has… ten years later… become one of my best friends in the world! I later expanded my networking to one hour outside my home radius, then globally on social media, and into companies worldwide. So, whether you’re old-school networking and shaking hands at local networking events, a Leader or Employee in an organization, or an Entrepreneur doing in-person business or on social media… How do you do it like a Leader?
First things first… only associate with The 3P’s; are they Positive, Passionate, and Productive? When I conduct Leadership Trainings, I share the fact I only hire, outsource, or are friends with those that exhibit The 3P’s… and all three matter! You cannot do business with someone positive, but not productive, productive but an energy drainer, or passionate but not productive or positive. I could go on, but you get the point!
Secondly, please be sure YOU’RE The 3P’s. Are you passionate about your business and moreso how it will best serve your customers/clients; making their professional and/or personal lives better? Are you positive… is the room better because you were in it, are you genuinely curious about others, is your mindset seeking connection or sales? Are you productive, trustworthy, and timely? Does knowing you or using your service yield results?
When you attend networking events, I promise there will be times when you see someone enter the room and you’ll be pulled toward them and you won’t have the words to explain why. These are people you want to connect with, be curious about, get that cup of coffee with, have that virtual call with, and more! Whether business happens or not… sometimes your circle is more important than any sale; as your circle will evolve you, your relationships, your ideas, your future, and indirectly… your business! I’m proud to have gained two best friends from my early days of networking and countless friendships worldwide through social media networking and they both impact me professionally as we chat about our respective businesses, ideas, and plans.
Networking via social media is different in the beginning, but the same throughout every other key. Physical networking entails getting dressed, walking into a room, handshaking, and listening to pitch after pitch… all the while leading with curiosity; NOT YOUR BUISNESS! As you network via social media, I suggest you lead by giving. What can you post and share regularly that adds value to those who read or watch your post? Next, reach out to say hello and be sure to give some more! A few weeks later, then ask to connect on a call! Ask about them and what their concerns and needs are professionally. Do you have the medicine to reduce their pain… allowing you to match your services to their concern, customize, create, or refer? Finally, share next steps you know work to make the process more seamless and less work for them!
Know Your Win!
In my early days of networking, I’d walk into an event and stay for hours talking to every person, giving my 30-second elevator pitch, listening to theirs, and leave feelings exhausted. Toward the end of my time at networking events, I knew what “My Win” was before entering and it changed the entire experience. My win was simple… to schedule a meeting/call with three individuals at the event… that was it! I’ll share in a bit exactly how I did it, but the goal was three. Once I scheduled three meetings/calls, I relaxed and conversed with no pressure and nothing but curiosity. But then a funny thing happened… more and more people wanted to meet! Once you relax and get curious, the smell of desperation fades away, you come off more established and professional, and great people and great opportunity start finding you!
Note: Your “Win” may not be to schedule three meetings, but whatever it is… know it! What’s your win for the day professionally? What’s your win going into that meeting? What’s your win for the project you’re leading or a part of? Knowing “Your Win” makes every day, meeting, and call much more interesting… and give each one much more meaning… Be Mindful!
Networking via social media works the same way! As a Professional Speaker & Leadership Trainer, my goal is to schedule virtual calls with 1-3 Executives/Organizations per week. However, to do so I must be willing to reach out to roughly 360 people per week… and that’s OK. I’m genuinely interested in connecting, what I provide makes an impact and difference… and at the very least, we will have a great conversation! Some people and companies are interested now, some will be interested later, some will connect me with others, some will become friends, and those that say “No” right off the bat allow us not to waste each other’s time. It’s all OK, but it’s only OK when you know what a WIN is for you!
This key is short and sweet! I’m a big believer your energy precedes you and people get a vibe from you before you ever say a word. Therefore, be mindful to walk with your head up, make eye contact, smile, and be willing to greet others. Each of these sounds simple, but I assure you it’s not. How many times have you attended a networking event, showed up to work, virtual calls, or walked into a store… and your coworkers, boss, the receptionist, or fast food worker wasn’t smiling, didn’t greet you, or even made eye contact with you? Yes, they did their job… but it still irritated you to your core! So, do the basics and never take the power or your smile and greeting for granted.
Secondly, here’s a tip I use daily! When greeting someone, I say “Happy Thursday” (or whatever day it is). Most of the time, the other person chuckles and you now know the type of person you’re speaking with or you’ve at least made them think. Either way, it’s been a simple greeting I’ve said for years and it sets a heck of a 3P tone whether in-person, in an email, text, or virtual call!
Ok, you’re The 3P’s, identified the other 3P’s, Know Your Win, and have Greeted… it’s time to schedule a meeting. I cannot tell you how many times I physically attended Networking Events, had a great conversation with someone, said “Why don’t we get together and follow-up on a call, coffee, etc. and their response was, “Great, let’s do that!”. I then followed up with, “Ok, why don’t we put this in our phones now. I know you’re going to get busy, I’m going to be busy, and I don’t want to feel like I’m pestering you”. I said this while I was getting my phone out and EACH TIME, the other person responded excitedly, “Yeah that’s a good idea!”.
It still amazes me as I’m writing this… typically, the other person is not willing to lead the situation and schedule what their interested in! Simply making this statement while getting your phone out will allow you to compare calendars and tentatively plan something. The WIN is to get in in the calendar; as most people work around things that are already IN THEIR CALENDAR. There will be times when some Executives have Assistants that manage their calendar and emailing that person will be the only option. My last tip is to set alerts and notifications for your appointments. Too many people are alerted to Facebook Posts, Instagram Posts, their emails, etc… if you’re going to be alerted by anything, let it be something lucrative!
What about Social Media Networking? Pulling out your phone will not work here; however, once someone is interested in connecting and scheduling a call or meeting… it’s your job to lead the experience or run the risk of chasing forever. I call it, A Leader’s Two Dates and it may sound something like, “Hi Sarah, Happy Thursday and it’s great hearing back from you. I’m looking forward to connecting on a virtual call as well. I’m available Monday, 10/26 at 9:00am EST or Wednesday, 10/28 at 1:00pm EST. If one of these work for you, great! If not, is there a best time for you? Thanks so much, I look forward to hearing from you, and enjoy the rest of your day!”.
This statement says a lot in a little… It allows you to exude your 3P’s, greet like a leader, offer two dates to eliminate the “Let’s Circling Back”, provides time-zones; as social media is global and also tells your clientele you’re global as well, and closes the message with positivity!
Get Out of It?
Believe it or not, this simple question catapulted my business beyond what I could ever have hoped! When I ask prospective companies interested in bringing me in, conferences interested in bringing me in, on 1-on-1 Calls with my Team, and on my Board Meeting Calls… this one question is the most important question! “What would you like to get out of bringing someone like me in?”. With my Team, “What would you like to get out of our meeting today?”.
I truly have no idea what the other person will say and neither do you! What I do know is, it’s better than you spewing your menu of services all over them without knowing their problem… and… whatever they say will allow you to match their concerns to something you have, customize, create, or refer. Either option is great in its own way!
Matching their concerns to what you have is easy for you and best for them! Customizing allows you to add to your arsenal of products and services; as everyone would like a tailor. Creating also allows you to add to your arsenal and if one person/company wants it… I’ve always figured a thousand more will too! Lastly, how does referring help you? It keeps you honest and them best served. It’s not our job to be great at everything! Service what you’re BEST at and they’ll come back, Service what you’re good at and they won’t, Refer and they’ll be surprised, thankful, eager to repay… Be Mindful!
If you’ve been following along in my leadership books, videos, and trainings you know I love the word “Follow-Through”. It signifies keeping your word, providing value and impact, and completion of tasks. It would be a shame to network like a leader only to get the last stage and not show up! How many times have you attended a networking event, met someone, scheduled a meeting/call, showed up… and they didn’t? They showed up late with no call, text, or email? How many times have you purchased a service and it wasn’t what they said it was going to be, didn’t work, or left you disappointed and wanting?
Now, let’s give some grace… there are times when emergencies pop up and a meeting/call can slip the mind… I’ve done it and so have you, but it doesn’t take away the initial feeling we have when it occurs to us. My point is, FOLLOW-THROUGH and complete your Leadership Networking Keys; enhancing your Leadership, your professional reputation, and Work/Life Harmony.
Remember, when you network locally… these are the people you’re going to see when you’re out to eat, at the grocery store, at your kid’s games and practices. When you network globally, they don’t have the luxury of knowing you personally; therefore your extraordinary personal reputation cannot act to protect your professional reputation… so Follow-Through and set a standard!
Lastly, stay connected! Through networking… some business and wins are conducted now, some later, some never… regardless of which one it is for you; be sure to reach out to stay connected, say hello, and stay curious. You never know what the future holds and being kind and interested tends to pay off in the future!
“Service what you’re BEST at and they’ll come back, Service what you’re good at and they won’t, Refer and they’ll be surprised, thankful, eager to repay… Be Mindful!” – Andre Young
Written by: Andre Young
Looking to impact your Organization, Leaders, Teams, and Employees with a Leadership Training or Speaker? Click www.youevolvingnow.com to connect, chat, and customize with Andre Young!