Updated: Jun 21, 2022
8 STEPS TO BUILD YOUR NETWORK, IT IS THE KEY TO YOUR SUCCESS
Harvard (HBR) says the key to success is your network, this is especially true for business owners in growing the business & even more so in selling the business. Growing your network is the key to finding clients, talent, strategic partners, investors, resources & potential buyers for your business. This article is a quick guide you can use to build rapport with anyone & grow your network. Use it yourself & teach it to everyone on your team to set them up for success too. A great network is one where you have rapport with people & can build mutually beneficial relationships with everyone you meet. With rapport, their network can also become your network.
THE NETWORKING GOAL – The goal of every conversation is to discover the uniqueness in others. Everyone has something to teach you if you look for it, & you can do the same in return.
THE NETWORKING STRATEGY – Make the conversation about them. Genuine curiosity is the key, question them first, stay above the line (focus on solutions not problems), & be of service.
THE NETWORKING PROCESS:
START – Take the initiative, “Hi, I’m Brad, great to meet you.”
OPENING QUESTION – Skip the small talk, it isn’t genuine. Ask a personal question – learn about them first, think about the benefits of learning their story – “What brought you here today? Did you grow up here?” (search for articles on ice breaking questions)
COMMONALITY - Find the points of commonality / connection by exploring their experiences & history, their thoughts on current events… - “I read about this today, what do you think about that?”
ASK THEIR THOUGHTS / OPINIONS / FEELINGS – Ask them first, listening is the number 1 communication skill, not talking. Validate your understanding, then share your thoughts & perspective, & frame it as your opinion, not absolute fact. This will reduce defensive responses.
talking about the problems in their world is OK, but don’t get stuck on the problems, move the conversation above the line (focus on solutions).
explore their thoughts on solutions, this gives people hope & a positive image of you
BE OF SERVICE – Find some way you can create value by giving without expecting anything in return. Share experience, connections, tools, resources, & advice if you ask their permission (can I make a suggestion?). You will be remembered by being a thoughtful giver.
COMPLIMENT - Find a unique point to compliment them on, a quality, accomplishment or perspective they’ve brought to the conversation
BE IN THE MOMENT – Stay engaged, ignore distractions, focus on them, stay curious & stay above the line
REMEMBER 3 DETAILS ABOUT THEM – repeat or use 3 details in context to anchor & validate them – name, places, kids, pets, new insights from what they’ve shared
I’d like to hear your thoughts on this, please share in the comments and pass it on. You can download a PDF version of this below.