The formula is simple: Hook up with the right people, and get leads/recommendations/etc. that turn into paying customers again and again. But finding the right people ain’t always easy, and it doesn’t happen by random accident enough to pay the bills (or thrive). You’ve got to do it on purpose.
If you want your business to grow at a solid, sustainable pace, you’ve got to be sure that the people you network with add the most power and value to your personal network. Here’s how …
Step 1: Identify Your Ideal ‘X’
What are you after? New customers? New media opportunities? New partners/affiliates? Whatever your target is, think about what would be the ideal profile of that target. Is there a specific income bracket? A specific professional affiliation? A specific type of crowd they hang with?
It’s not enough to just want to meet ‘well connected people’ – they’ve got to be well connected to your target profile. This isn’t rocket science, but it’s an often overlooked step by people who are in a rush to network like crazy, hoping that random chance will bump them into the right people.
That’s not to say that random, cast-your-net-wide networking doesn’t work – it does, eventually. But wouldn’t you like to take the ‘eventually’ out of the equation and do it faster?
Step 2: Identify The Top ‘X’
So you’ve got your target profile established. Now it’s time to aim high. Take some time to think about the very top players in the field, your dream connections. If you’re looking for new customers, this might be the most well-connected business person who could not only be a client, but expose you to tons of new ones. If you’re looking for media attention, it might be the top venue that attracts the attention of whoever it is you’re looking to send your message to.
Don’t worry if these top-tier people seem out of your reach. That’s not important now. The key thing is to identify the top of the food chain.
Step 3: Build Your Ladder
If your dream contacts are at the top of the ladder, you’re starting out at the bottom for the time being. Take a few moments and chart your way up the ladder. Think of the kinds of people who can move you up the ladder, rung by rung, until you get to the top. Then start networking your way up.
This may all sound simplistic, and that’s because it is. You have a finite amount of time on this earth, and charting the shortest course between point A and point B is in your best interest. And while you may never get to the very top of the ladder, having the rungs mapped out will ensure you’re moving in the right direction at all times.
Now It’s Your Turn – How Do You Network On Purpose?
I’d love to hear about your plan to network most intelligently … take a moment to post your ideas below (and don’t forget to subscribe to the comments so you can catch other people’s tips).
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