The business world is built on networking. Whether it be online, face-to-face or over the phone, networking is what gets the deals done. Building a network is an entirely different topic, instead we are going to talk about the health and wealth of your connections.
No matter your business you’ve got to know and interact with people…and the more people you know and interact with the larger potential your business has at success.
Develop a Healthy Network
But what if your network is sick? What if the connections you have made are spurious? What if you aren’t even in the network of those you list in yours?
This is a problem. It means your business associates see no worth in fostering a relationship with you. It doesn’t mean you aren’t worth anything, but it does mean that your network connections are not realizing a benefit in connecting back to you.
Networking connections must be mutually beneficial to operate efficiently. Would you continue to do business with someone who was take, take, take and never gave anything in return?
Before you can expect to receive anything in life you’ve first got to give. Networks are useless unless both parties have something of value to offer each offer.
I never ask any favors from a business associate or network connection unless I’ve previously provided something of value. Further, I also do whatever I can to provide the first favor or value in the relationship.
Anytime I meet a possible new network connection I quickly assess what benefit this individual can provide for me and/or my businesses. If there is benefit to be had great, if I see none I’m moving on.
Next, through the initial conversation I find out what is important to the new contact and immediately begin mentally compiling a list of how I could be of assistance. Again, you’ve got to be able to provide value if you expect to receive it.
Provide a Benefit
Then as soon as you get a chance…offer a favor or a solution to a problem. It can be during the first conversation or can be in the form of a follow-up email or phone call. The value of the initial action need not be great but does need to demonstrate that you are a man of means and that you can make things happen.
Now, since you were the first to prove your worth, the other party feels a sense of obligation and is primed to reciprocate. It is now up to you when you wish to call the debt. At this point you simply wait until a situation arises in which your network connection can provide a solution.
Give and Take
Believe me, if your new business associate is as half as clever as you they will be ready and willing to answer the call. In fact, the longer you wait or the more benefit you provide before asking for help the bigger a favor they are likely to perform.
I totally hate feeling like I owe anyone anything. So whenever someone does me a favor I will bend over backwards trying to even the score. I hate being indebted to anyone for anything.
So remember, it is imperative that you take the initiative in any new business relationship so that you can not only dictate the give but also the take.