How do you turn a colleague or a casual acquaintance or even a stranger into a networking ally for you?
Wouldn’t it be great to have many networking allies out there watching your back, helping you out, and being there when needed them most? How valuable would that be to you?
The truth is that creating networking allies and close relationships takes time. It also takes trust and a real commitment to building and maintaining that relationship. It also takes a certain attitude and spirit of “giver’s gain” and willingness to both “help others and ask for help.” That’s the spirit of professional networking.
Who would you want to turn into a networking ally?
The first step in creating networking allies is to become more targeted about who you are going to be investing time with. While everyone in the world could potentially add value to you (and you to them), a serendipity strategy may not yield very predictable results for you.
Can you think of 10 people in your network right now that are important to you? Could you actually write their names down on a list? If you can do that, can you think of 25 people in your network who are or potentially could be really important to you? How about 50 networking contacts?
Here’s one idea to help you make that happen easily!
Angelo Rossetti was the one who introduced me to the 50-5-10-2 Networking Strategy. Angelo Rossetti is a master networker and also a professional tennis player. He and his twin brother, Ettore, hold the Guinness Book of World’s Records for the longest tennis rally. (accomplished in 14 hours and 31 minutes, with 25,944 strokes of a tennis ball – WOW!).
Angelo has taught me and so many other people a great deal about professional networking. One particular break-through was his idea how to develop your top 50 contacts into true networking alleys. The key is frequency of staying in touch.
The 50-5-10-2 Networking Strategy
- 50 = your top 50 networking contacts. Those people who you are a relationship with. You care about them; they care about you. You can help them; they can help you.
- 5 = reach out to them once every five weeks or so. This frequency is good because it’s not harassment or stalking, and it’s not abandonment or neglect. It’s a regular commitment to touch base, even if just to leave a voice mail on their cell phone. Remember, they are important to you.
- 10 = you will touch base with 10 people per week
- 2 = you will touch base with 2 people a day. How to make this do-able? program these people on your cell phone/I-phone/Blackberry. Call one person on your morning commute and one person on your evening commute. Even if you don’t commute to work, once you make this a routine daily habit, it will become a natural activity for you. You find yourself reaching out to even more people daily. It’s energizing!
What else must you do to build more productive networking relationships?
Here are 5 ideas to get you going in the right direction. (click here for more networking tips and resources)
- Develop a systematic approach to networking follow-up. I use Send Out Cards. Click through to see what I’ve been able to do with this amazing high touch, easy to use marketing tool!
- Stay visible to the people in your network. Share your ideas and thoughts through blogging, social on-line networking or email marketing. I use Peer360 as my email marketing tool as a way to stay in regular touch with my broader network. Want to see how it looks? Opt – in and receive my bi-weekly motivating e-newsletter. It’s FREE. (scroll up the page and see the place opt-in on the right side bar of this web site.)
- Re-connect with people from your past network. Do you have an account on LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter? If not, get one. They are FREE. In today’s world, you need an on-line presence. Use these amazing tools to reconnect and stay connected with important people in your network! Let’s connect on line. Click here for Kathy McAfee’s LinkedIn profile
- Add new people to your network by specifically by name. Get in the habit of asking for new connections and for “warm introductions” to these new people. No one likes to cold call. It’s always better to be introduced.
Always, always remember that networking is about relationships. And relationships start in conversation. To learn more about how you can start more conversations, learn to perfect your pitch and see if your networking introduction passes the MR ABE criteria, we invite to spend more time on this web site and check out our networking tips and resources. It’s all here for you. Why not share this resource with other people in your professional network?
Please say this out loud right now:
“If I want more out results out of my professional networking, I must Think Relationships (not transactions); Think Conversations (not sales pitches).”
Need more help? Contact Kathy McAfee at (860) 408-0033 or decipher and email her at Kathy(at)MarketingMotivator(dot)net
Here’s to your networking success!