Build relationships, not just connections

One of the challenges with networking is that you don’t know who they know who could help you on your journey, and vice versa … they have the same challenge. There are 3 key steps to making the most of your networking …

  1. Connect with them at the most basic level … invite them to be part of your network via LinkedIn or Circles. It’s non-invasive, non-demanding and purely discretionary. Do this within 72 hours, earlier if you can. If they felt a connection of value, they will accept your offer to connect.
  2. Spend a few minutes researching each persons profile, including their Facebook page, to see if you share any common interests. If you see a pattern of like-minded thought, interests and values, seek to connect with them via Facebook as well.
  3. If they connect, through social media, you have some comfort that they saw some value in the relationship, and I would try to consolidate this connection through offering some ‘free tips or information’ that may fit with their business activity, personal activity or personal development. This usually means the person would go onto a casual contact list and be offered further free information via blogs etc to help them on their journey.

Researching the person’s achievements will give you some insight into their drivers, and you may want to categorise them into areas of interest, in your CRM system, whether by hobbies, social focus (charities, travel) or business interests (behavioural, processes, logistics, finance etc) so that when you have articles of interest you can share these with those connections to develop the relationship to a ‘warmer’ level.

The ultimate endpoint in building a relationship is to be aware of their ‘journey’, their goals, their values, so that you can be instrumental in helping them along the way. When you do this without expectation, you will find that those relationships will be the most rewarding in the long game.

Commerce is changing so quickly now, without having a quality network who will support you, and share opportunities with you along the way, you will find it a very lonely and frustrating journey. It’s worth investing in building relationships and not just flooding your world with superficial connections.

This article appeared first on The Referral Edge.