Is Your Network Napping?

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“Networking is not about collecting contacts. It’s about planting relationships.” ~ MiShi.at

Simply put – relationships matter. When you have ‘related’ to a client by giving your best, you’ll be remembered. Just minutes ago, I was indeed remembered. The caller said, “Valerie, you’ve been referred by xxxx.” It turns out xxxx is a client from 10 years ago. That referral came from my sincere desire to stay in touch (digitally on this one) with those people I call “brand ambassadors” — those clients who know me and value our relationship.

What matters is that you care enough to connect. Whether by phone, email or through social media, the point is to reach out — or there is no connection. Now the HOW!

3 Tips for Engaging Your Network

1 – KNOW WHAT’S IMPORTANT TO THEM

Maybe it’s a hobby. Maybe it’s a passion, sport, or talent. When you know what someone likes or enjoys – it’s easier to send messages.

Example: If a client is an avid reader, send interesting articles. Keep a file of articles or compelling research. It’s a high leverage point for having information that matters – to someone else!

When someone has a new baby, send a card. When you meet a person who shares your interest, exchange ideas. Caring enough to remember others and what’s important to them is a small gesture that brings large results.

2 – BE CONSISTENT

According to my friend and colleague William Arruda, “9 Minutes a day translates into three hours a month.” Can you imagine the impact on your career if you focused on networking activities for three full hours every month?

Example: For the next month, focus 9 minutes each day to send something to someone. That’s easy. You can do that. Have birthday cards already addressed, in a folder labeled per month. Whatever your commitment, do it – one step at a time. The return on your investment will be bountiful. When you give, give, give (authentically) – you’ll get, get, get – as Zig Ziglar used to say.

3 – MAKE IT PERSONAL

What do YOU appreciate? For me, cooking is not only enjoyable but serves as a stress reliever. If you send me a recipe, I’ll appreciate it! (DO send one😊) When I work with a client who also shares my passion, I make note and send THEM a recipe.

Example: What about pets? That’s a huge connector. My daughter‘s first job was at a financial services firm. Easing into the firm, a few colleagues warned her to “be cautious when you have to work with so and so. He’s a bear.” Hmmm, she found that not so. The second week as she walked through the halls being introduced to the firm’s partners, she noticed this “bear” displayed a picture of his family’s golden retriever. That was it! She also had a golden, mentioned it to the partner and a long conversation ensued about the loving characteristics of the breed. This partner became a strong influence and mentor in her career.

I’d love to hear how you engage with your network. The first 50 people who send me your ideas will receive a business quiz taken from my collection of those written for Southwest Airlines Magazine.

Send to: valerie@valerieandcompany.com

Valerie SokoloskyValerie Sokolosky is a Master Personal Brand Strategist and expert thought leader in leadership presence and personal branding. A widely published author and founder of Valerie and Company, her executive coaching and training has helped companies large and small achieve their goals of increased productivity, profitability, and enhanced people skills.

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