How to Actually Network as a Seller
What if you had a superpower that could double your resources, knowledge, and opportunities? Would you use it?
It turns out you already have that superpower, but you're not using it.
I'm a massive fan of using leverage. Leverage allows you to achieve more with less. While there are many forms of leverage, we're going to focus on people for now. Many sellers already use this form of leverage—building a team.
That's only one way of using people as a form of leverage. One massively underutilized version is networking.
The word networking often leaves you with a bad taste, but the reality couldn't be further from the truth. Here I'll explain what networking actually is and how to use it to achieve your most wild dreams.
What networking actually is
"Networking is about finding ways to make other people more successful."
Everything I know about networking came from one book—Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi.
At its core, networking is about finding ways to make other people more successful. It's not about "keeping the score" or ensuring things balance out. It's connecting the dots to find a better outcome for them.
What's interesting is that it often does come back to you. When you've built a meaningful relationship with someone they want you to succeed too.
How do you create a meaningful relationship? By helping someone through a health issue, positively impact their wealth, or taking a sincere interest in their life. That's how you engender life-bonding loyalty.
In summary, know what matters to everyone you know and help them get it.
How to network correctly
Identifying your potential network
Before you can begin networking, you need to know who to network with. While you shouldn't be too picky, you should be focused. Keith Farrazzi calls this your Relationship Action Plan (RAP).
The Relationship Action Plan has you first define clear personal and professional goals. Based on these goals you then identify and list the people who could help you achieve each one. Then, you begin reaching out (aka networking) with those people to build connections.
For me, this is the crux that changes everything.
When you become clear on your goals and figure out who could help you, you achieve your goals faster.
The 80/20 of networking
80% of networking is just staying in touch—pinging.
When it comes down to it, networking is simply reaching out and touching base. It begins with simple, casual conversations, and moves to a deeper connection with time and effort.
Once you take the formality of "networking" out of your mind it becomes much easier.
It's forwarding an interesting article you came across to someone who you know would value it. Introducing someone to another because they could help solve each other's problems. Even when you get nothing out of the deal.
Maintaining and leveraging your network
Checking in on your network can be time-consuming, but it doesn't take much.
I'm a big fan of using Clay as my personal CRM—it integrates with your email, calendar, and social media to automatically import data.
Taking notes is also something that is underrated. Great notes jog your memory of past interactions or find unique connections. This alone feels like a superpower.
Leveraging your networking is a very different story. You need to enhance the value you provide to your network first (mentioned above). Then, begin looking at your most painful/complex problems. Who in your network could help you solve them?
With this you have a clear ask when you reach out. Sometimes it's hiring someone. Other times it's asking for an introduction to someone in their network.
This brings me to another concept from Keith's book — the Superconnector.
There's always someone we know who seems to know everyone. Those people are called Superconnectors. These should be your go-to people when building your network. Each Superconnector relationship gives you access to dozens of other people (almost) overnight.
Wrapping it up
Networking is a powerful form of leverage. When done right, it can multiply your resources, knowledge, and opportunities.
Here's a TL;DR:
- Create your Relationship Action Plan
- Build real connections by helping others succeed
- Tap into the resources of Superconnectors
- Manage your networking with a tool like Clay
- Use your network to solve your most painful problems
And, if you haven't, consider reading Never Eat Alone by Keith Farrazzi.
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