“If you make meaning, you’ll make money.”
– Guy Kawasaki
Let’s take this a step further and look at how we can make meaningful connections to increase profitability. Networking is an important marketing tool for building a business and creating opportunities.
The definition of networking by Merriam-Webster is: “the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions – specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.”
In order to cultivate a productive relationship and make a meaningful connection, it takes time, as the word “cultivation” suggests. And for it to be productive, it must be mutually beneficial. Find out about whoever you are connecting with, what you have in common, and what value you can bring?
It is not all about trying to close a sale and seeing how they can help you, but rather about building rapport and building trust and respect between you.
The prospect of networking can be daunting, but if we learn to look at it as a skill that can be improved upon with a different mindset and practice, it becomes a lot easier; especially if we move the focus away from finances and let it flow naturally.
Some factors to bear in mind:
We are all human – Get personal to find out what lies beneath the surface, what interests, motivates and inspires a person. Speak to those elements and find common ground from which you can build your relationship rather than focussing on a perceived transactional value you may have of them.
Be authentic – Take time to focus on your personal self-development and then open up and bring this to others. In this way, you will attract and engage those with whom you naturally connect. These are the relationships to cultivate, but with no self-serving agenda. People who get to know the real you will be far more inclined to want to help and work with you.
Add value – Listen to what people need and help them figure out how to get from A to B. Extra insight is invaluable, and again, when you need something, they will want to reciprocate and help you.
Set clear goals – Know what you need so that people can help you. Often they are more than willing, but don’t know how to unless you can direct them.
These are the foundations for any healthy relationship. Whatever you put in will come back to you, but you need to actively focus on networking for your network to grow. Create opportunities for meaningful connection wherever possible and always follow up and stay in touch.
Oh yes, and treat every person as if they’re a CEO; you never know where a connection may lead to one day.
Meaningful connections are important to us at WellsFaber; let us start by building a meaningful connection with you.