In last week’s blog I gave you tips on how to build your network.
Now that you’ve got strong foundations on which to build, it’s time to focus on growth.
In this context growing your network is not just about expanding it, it’s also about strengthening it and creating depth in your relationships so that you can go beyond small talk over coffee and start really talking and doing real business.
1. Give AND Receive
You will be very familiar with the concept of giving to gain. The theory is that by adding value and “giving” freely, your actions will be reciprocated and rewarded.
Equally important though is the concept that you must also be able to receive. Too many women spend all their time giving, without ever asking for anything in return.
At some point in a relationship, if business is to be done, you must ask for it. And you must be willing to receive help, otherwise you will find yourself exhausted from constantly being the “giver”.
2. Go One to Many
While one to one coffee conversations are invaluable in gaining trust and building relationship, when you’re looking to grow your network, aim to get in front of multiple at once, as often as you can.
What I don’t mean is going to a networking event or a conference with lots of people. What I do mean, is being the speaker at a networking event or conference with lots of people.
You could also set up your own group, such as a Lean In Circle, the concept created by Sheryl Sandberg from her book “Lean In”.
Or you could host a client seminar and ask each client to bring a colleague or friend in the industry.
Basically going one to many includes any activity that involves you positioning yourself in front of a group of your target market.
3. Follow Up and Follow Through
We all remember the person who said they’d call, after the first date, then they never did. Don’t be that person.
Have a follow-up strategy for everyone you meet that you want to keep in touch with or get to know better. Need help with that? Click here to download The Value Jar™, a tool I created for my clients to make follow-up easy.
And, if you say you’re going to do something for someone, do it. Follow through on your promises.
4. Be Consistent
I’m not great with plants. Frankly, I really should buy the fake ones from IKEA. The problem is, I tend to be inconsistent with my watering. Some weeks they get watered 3 times, the next week they might get none. The lack of consistency literally kills them.
When you’re in the growth phase of networking, don’t make the same mistake. It’s essential that you create a Networking Strategy that is consistent. It’s better to do a little thing every day to move you forward, than nothing for weeks on end followed by a huge splurge.
5. Be Proactive
A key to growing your network is being proactive. Seek out opportunities to meet people and make the first move! This is no time to be shy and retiring. If there is someone you want to meet, used Linkedin as an initial connection tool. Give them reason to connect with you and make a point of following up.
People who proactively grow their network reap the rewards.
Next week in we’ll cover Part 3 in How to Build, Grow and Leverage Your Network, and we’ll be focusing on Leverage. Tune in then!
PS If you’re a woman in the business of getting business I’ve set aside time in the next week to talk to you about how to build your network and your profile to build your business or practice. I work with women in service industries and I’d love to hear more about you and what you want to achieve. Just click here to book a 15 minute chat.