I have often wondered how the quality of your network is your net worth…as in, how in reality does this work, or even if it’s legit?
Jim Rohn famously said “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with, and when it comes to relationships, we are greatly influenced whether we like it or not, by those that are closest to us”.
In business that is as important as it is in life. It affects the way we think, it affects our self-esteem and our decisions. To clarify, of course everyone is their own person, but research has shown that we’re more affected by our environment than we think.
In A Perfect World
Now, while it’s ideal to closely surround yourself with positive, supportive people so that you can succeed, it’s also necessary to have your critics, or those who are going to be your cheer squad…AND hold you accountable at the same time.
Recently I caught up with Diana Sabatino, the Executive Managing Director, Orange County, Diana is the Managing Director of the year 2019 for eWomenNetwork, one of the leading business networks in the US and Canada.
Diana and I spoke about networking, and if it is worth the time and effort these days? The answer…YES! With that said, it’s the quality of our network that equals our net worth. Not just any old network, but the QUALITY of those connections, the ones based on a solid foundation.
What Is Networking About?
Networking involves interacting with others, to form business relationships and to recognise, or create business opportunities to share information and collaborate. As I often say…people know people, know people.
If you want to make the kind of impression that works to build a powerful personal network, then you’ve got to understand what others’ expectations are as well as your own. It’s a lot more than handing out a few business cards and hoping for the best.
Taking what Jim Rohn said a little deeper, it’s about attitude and perception, remember…what someone perceives is their reality. A positive attitude makes people want to cooperate and associate, and more importantly collaborate with you. A consistently negative attitude will have people running for the hills, it’s not rocket science, but there are so many who forget this basic rule especially when the roller coaster of being CEO of your business ticks on, and on, and on.
The faster you learn more about the person who is in front of you, who they want to collaborate and connect with, the faster you’ll establish a valuable relationship.
At eWomen Network, we talk about lifting as we climb, which means we want to collaborate to serve others. People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care. Helping people is literally putting the care into action, you’re showing and demonstrating to others. This could be as simple as emailing a relevant article, tagging a relevant post, creating a connection or introducing someone who may be able to provide some useful information.
Farming Or Hunting?
It’s about farming, not about hunting…let me explain.
Once upon a time, there was a farmer who wanted to grow lettuces for the local farmers market. The farmer cleaned up the land, pulled the weeds, toiled the soil and planted the seeds. Day after day, the farmer would tend to the lettuces, watered the seedlings and nurtured the plants with fertiliser. The days became weeks, and finally after many weeks the lettuces had grown into the perfect vegetable.
The farmer then gently picked the lettuces, went to the farmers market and earnt a stack of cash from all the hard work from the past few months.
Now, the opposite to the farmer is the hunter. The hunter wants only what they can get…they track the wild beast with laser focus, they do not care what happens around them, they are on a mission to hunt down and get exactly what they want.
The moral of the story is this…when you nurture relationships, water and give support…aka nutrition, the rewards are great, and many can enjoy the fruits of your labour. On the other hand, when you hunt in business, the person in front of you will know this, and want to run away as fast as they can. It’s about working on mutually beneficial business relationships, quality over quantity…no more business car swapping for the hell of it. Only strategic, high calibre farming.
As I say often people know people know people, which means I might may not be your ideal customer, but the third or fourth person in my network is an ideal referral partner for you, the one who is going to send a lot of people your way.
Be Real, Be You
Now the word ‘authentic’ gets bandied around often and is done to death in my opinion. But the thing is, if you’re not sincere, people will see through you, whether it be online or whether it be face to face, the way you turn up, to be real and be you is key to improving your quality networks.
Follow Up…The Key To Successful Networking
Having a strategic method on following up your new connection is critical in building solid relationships, and with our inboxes, and social media channels on steroids these days, it is super easy for things to fall between the cracks.
Be the person who does follow up, a quick email, a text or message in a conversational style goes a long way. Whenever I receive a new connection or business card, I aim to email a follow up to continue the conversation or send through whatever I have promised.
Sustainable networking can take multiple touch points before a genuine connection is made. If you give up after the first email or the first phone call or the first message, what do you think the perception will be of you?
Everyone is busy, super busy and as I mentioned, things can fall between the cracks, which is ok…simply pick up where you left off.
Networking is a long game, it is not something that will bring instant reward every single time. You’ve got to put in the effort consistently to get a positive result. It’s about proving your credibility, social proof and trustworthiness, which means demonstrating you are ‘what’ and ‘who’ you say you are.
It doesn’t matter how successful a person is. If you don’t trust them, you’re not going to do business with them.
In networking, this is also true…when you give a personal reference, you’re putting your reputation on the line. You must be able to trust your referral partner and be trusted in return.
Quote – they may forget what you said, but they will never forget how you made them feel – Maya Angelou
In a world where there are many people who are out to get what they can, there are many who want to hang with the right kind of people, to collaborate and work together.
In a perfect world, wouldn’t it be great to see experts work together, what I like to call your power people. Those who complement what you do. For example, I am in marketing and social media with a focus on organic growth. Power people for me are graphic designers, web developers, accountants, business coaches and those who love Facebook advertising…to name a few.
Business can be hard enough without having people who have your back.
I’d like to introduce you to eWomenNetwork, a network with over 500,000 connections in the US, Canada and recently here in Australia, plus opening in the UK in the next few months.
The eWomenNetwork is a networking association celebrating 20 years in 2020 with over 120 chapters across the US and Canada. It’s a networking group for women and for those who call themselves entrepreneurs … an entrepreneur network!
I first heard about the network via a Facebook group for women entrepreneurs, a random connection with a beautiful lady who happens to be the Managing Director of Orlando Florida. After months of due diligence, a Zoom conversation with Sandra Yancey, the CEO and Co-founder of the network, I attended the annual conference in Dallas, I have found my tribe. Being that I have been in business for a number of years, it’s not something I say lightly.
Pretty much whether you are starting out, scaling or moving on to something new, it’s all about helping you acquire new customers, promote what you offer and increase your cashflow…all based on QUALITY connections.
The network stands for consciously and intentionally looking for ways to share information, leads, contacts, and grow businesses. It represents a heart-centred approach, which honours how women connect, collaborate, and create with each other.
It’s about giving first, share always.
If you would like to know more about our upcoming events here at eWomenNetwork in Australia, I can waive the event fee and you can come as my guest, please click the button below.