Kickstart Monday: How to Leverage the Power of Your Network

1Aug

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Building Relationships

Do you know what's even better than a Monday? When Monday is the first day of the month.

I don't know why, there's just something clean about it, a new month, new week and a new opportunity to succeed. Can it get any better?

Since this month's Coffee Buzz Networking is tomorrow I thought it would be a good time to talk about How to Leverage the Power of Your Network.

As a lot of you know I recently teamed up with Chris Pastrana from NH Business Show for a Veterans Day promotion and this would never have happened if it wasn't for our network.

We didn't know each other and even though we do basically the same thing as far as promoting local businesses, we haven't been to any of the same events and don't know all that many of the same people. But we had one person in common, Piper Turgeon from Eco Chic Interiors.

Piper met Chris at one of the Gold Star Referral Club meetings, one thing led to another and she gave us an introduction. Now we're working a joint project and it's kind of big.

This is what I'm talking about when I say the "power of your network."

In it's purest form, networking is about building relationships.

Relationships open doors and give us credibility. They put us in touch with potential buyers and business partners, but that's it. Some of the people in our network may end up as clients, but that's not why we cultivate the relationship.

I know a lot of sales people are going to disagree with me on this. And if you are a sales person whose sole purpose is to find customers and make the sale, I get that your perspective is different from the rest of us. Your goal is to find a prospect and sell, that's it. You have people to handle all those other pesky business details like product development, production, front office, back office and everything in between. Your focus is the sale and anyone who isn't buying isn't important to you.

No business can survive without revenue so yes, sales are always important, but the average small business person has a wider scope. And this is particularly true for people who work on their own.

Which brings us to the question of how do you leverage your network?

Introductions

One of the biggest benefits of a strong network, if not the biggest benefit, of having a network is the ripple effect.

When you carefully tend and nurture your network it opens doors far beyond the person standing in front of you. And yes, I am talking about introductions.

Sometimes it's someone knowing the gatekeeper for the person you need to meet, other times it's being introduced to potential partners or new clients.

And this is where the sales guys and the people who go to networking events for the sole purpose of making a sale get it wrong.

A sale today doesn't guarantee anything tomorrow, but when you build relationships it opens the door to tomorrow's possibilities.

That's huge because when you combine your address book and all of your connections' address books at least one, if not two or three people, can put you in touch with the right people at the right time.

Product Development

Product ideas and development are another great use for your network.

You can spend a lot of money and do focus groups and A/B testing, but it makes more sense to start by talking to people in your network. Ask questions and listen to what they're saying.

You don't have to specifically tell anyone you're trying to develop a new product, just pay attention when they start talking about the things they hate or the tools they need to make their job easier.

It doesn't really matter what kind of product or service you provide. Get to know the people in your target market and listen to what they say. This will put you a step ahead of everyone else and because you've already established a rapport you'll have one foot in the door when it comes to selling it.

Credibility

The third way to use your network is to leverage the credibility factor.

We all know that people want to do business with people they know and it's not enough that they met you at a networking event.

Before someone entrusts you with their kitchen remodel, their wedding photography or their website, they want to know that someone they already know and trust is willing to vouch for you.

Again, this is why we build relationships and why it's so important to have those relationships with the right people.

People who are trustworthy, who are upstanding citizens and are connected to the audience that you want to reach.

Wield the Power

When you're an entrepreneur, especially a solo entrepreneur, your network is probably the most valuable tool in your toolbox. As a one person shop, you don't have a development team, a production manager, accountant, or marketing team on hand to help you get things done. But when you have a strong network, you can easily get the help or introductions you need to get reach your audience and get the job done.

So Take the time to make quality connections and build relationships. And Remember, it's not all about you.

All relationships are a balance of give and take so be a good networking partner. Answer questions, give introductions and referrals. And trust me when I say that as a small business person there is nothing more reassuring than knowing that people have your back.

Misc. Links From the Podcast

603 Networking - Concord (Open Networking): Concord (Open Networking): 5:30 PM - 7:30 PM Uno Pizzeria & Grill Fort Eddy Road, Concord. The 603 Networking Group is kicking off August with an open networking event in Concord. If you're looking to connect with other local business people or simply want to put a face to the people you talk with on Linkedin why not stop by? Please be sure to sign up as they do need to know how many people are coming. RSVP: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/603-networking-81-530...

Coffee Buzz Networking: 9:30 AM - 10:30 AM at Aroma Joe's Coffee 2. S. Beech Street, Manchester. This month's topic is "How to Find Clients"

Yoga + Fitness in the Park: Weekly yoga and fitness session are 3:00 PM - 3:45 PM at Victory Park 119 Concord Street, Manchester. Why not duck out of the office for an hour and enjoy an open air class? For more information please visit: https://www.facebook.com/events/510240419181789/

Gold Star Manchester Business Network

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