Always Be Building Your Network!
Do you remember the famous line from the classic sales play and film Glengarry Glen Ross? “Always be Closing” is synonymous with sales cultures across the globe and has been for many years. It means that you should always be thinking about making the sale, all the time. Like always!
Well, I am going to create a new one here. It likely won’t become as famous, but it certainly should be, as it is equally important in today’s world to be successful not only in business, but in all facets of your life. Ready? Here it comes….
“Always Be Building Your Network!” Pretty simple, but also quite complex if you think about it. And it goes far beyond just adding more connections on LinkedIn. While that is certainly an important way to build your network, many people don’t realize just how many places you can add people to your network in addition to LinkedIn. And these people you add can many times benefit you greatly, either professionally or personally, or give you opportunity to do something to help them. Let’s take a look at some of the ways you can increase the size, scope, and reach of your network and how they can benefit you in multiple ways.
· LinkedIn- So as I mentioned above, LinkedIn in a great tool. In fact, in my opinion, it is the most powerful business networking tool available today. Hands down. The cool thing about LinkedIn connections is that you don’t need to really ‘know’ every person you are connected with. For example, I currently have just under 8,000 first connections. I certainly don’t have direct relationships with each of these people, but these contacts being through LinkedIn create a level of trust and ethics that would allow me to reach out to them for a variety of business reasons and have a much better chance of getting a response than if I just reached out blindly. But there is more. Sometimes it is not just the value of the first connection themselves, but the value of who they know, and who they know, and so on. For example, I currently have 7965 first connections, which connects me to 1,180,000 second connections, and 916,000,000 third connections. And then there are the 49 LinkedIn groups I belong to, the roughly 2500 people who follow my business page, and the folks who read and follow these blogs. Mind boggling, isn’t it? Now that is a powerful network! How does your LinkedIn network stack up?
· Social Media- While many people don’t realize it, your personal social media is also an important part of your network. While my daughters regularly jab me for being active on Facebook (just for old people, dad), the 892 connections I have there are an invaluable part of my network. These are personal connections, so I actually do know (or once knew) all of these people. Add to that my 324 on Instagram, and 100 or so on Twitter (yes, I know that one needs work) and it creates a whole bunch more connections for me to tap into. And there are many more available that I am not on (maybe my daughters are right?!) like Snapchat, Tik-tok, Twitch, Pinterest, etc. You can tap into these networks of people for a large variety of reasons. My wife used her Insta network to locate all of the flowers and décor for our recent wedding by just reaching out and connecting the dots. I have found many candidates to fill positions with and new clients by using these parts of my network as well.
· Friends and Family- You may not think about it, but your friends and family are great parts of your network. Maybe your cousin’s friend’s aunt is the hiring manager for a job you are looking to interview for. Maybe you have a friend who has a friend who has access to those concert tickets you are trying to get your hands on. Maybe your dad has a guy in his poker group who knows a guy who knows a guy that can introduce you to the artist whose work you have been coveting. I think you get the point here!
· Religious/Social Groups- If you belong to a Church, Synagogue, Temple, or other religious organization, or maybe a gardening club, martial arts studio, school PTA, etc. you have access to another group of people who you can network with.
· Alumni Association- Pretty much every college or university has an alumni organization of some kind that you can become part of. This puts you in touch with yet another group of people, and with whom you have something in common. It is much easier for many people to reach out to someone if they have a mutual interest or background with to use as a conversation starter.
· Professional Organizations- There are far too many of these to list here, but just about all industries have multiple organizations connected to them that you can become a part of. Again, these are people you have something in common with and folks that may be in power positions within organizations that can benefit you. I have found many candidates for searches I have worked on by scouring organizations they belong to.
· Networking Events-These vary by specialty and geography, but these days you can find a multitude of events to attend and meet people to add to your network. Many times, they include lunch or dinner, and may have a speaker who is talking about something that can benefit you or someone you know. And they always include plenty of time to work the room and meet new contacts to add to your growing network.
These are just a few examples of the many networking opportunities that are available to you in your daily life that you may not have thought about. I hope it helps you to stock up on people in your network and that it helps to propel you forward in your endeavors. Please reach out to me and share your thoughts!
Ron Milman is the Principal of Milman Search Group, a leading National Recruiting/Staffing/Coaching agency efficiently filling positions for companies across a wide variety of industries and specialties, and coaching career seekers. Check them out at www.milmansearch.com or contact Ron directly at email@example.com.