Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” I find it to be both a profound and true statement. In nearly any endeavor, whether searching for employment or in the field of entrepreneurship, one’s knowledge and skills are typically less useful and less important than one’s network of personal contacts. I’d even wager if you were to study 100 successful people, one of their common threads would be the relationships they have strategically cultivated. This article will outline some essentials for building those same high-quality relationships.
In order for your relationships to blossom and excel, there must be mutual trust. This is true in your business connections, as well as your personal relationships. It wasn’t until I went to college (Hampton University) and met some guys from New Jersey that I heard the phrase “my word is my bond,” or as they would say it, “word is bond.” And this definitely applies to your connections. Trust must be established and you should do your best to keep your word. This will help take your relationships to the next level.
Show me a great salesman and I’ll show you a person with great enthusiasm! You will greatly increase your chances of people engaging with you, buying from you, listening to you, and, even more so, respecting you, if you are able to maintain a high level of enthusiasm. A person who possesses the gift of excitement will always be someone who has friends and good relationships. It is natural for people to gravitate towards those who are on a higher vibration and have a high level of positive energy.
This may be among the most important tips for building strategic relationships. You should always be able to add value or offer something before asking for anything. Your added value could be many different things and does not necessarily have to be monetary. Your value could be a book or article recommendation, volunteering for a charity or campaign, a donation to their organization, or maybe offering a connection that your prospect and a third party you know could mutually benefit from. Adding value is a major key in connecting with influencers (or anyone, for that matter).
You would not be reading these words right now had the young woman from BYOB not followed up with me on more than one occasion. My first job out of college landed me in an intense training program for Financial Advisors that was considered one of the best in the country. One of the first things we were taught was that it takes 5-7 contacts to turn a prospect into a client. I’ve since learned the same goes for building successful relationships. It is imperative that you master the art of following up. In fact, I went in-depth on this step on my weekly radio show. You can watch it below.
Positive Vibes Only: Eliminate Energy Vampires
As you work on creating your network, be extremely careful about whom you allow into your circle. You should aim to only include people who are positive and like-minded. If you find out someone is an energy vampire (someone who brings negative energy and only wants to take, instead of adding value), you want to do your best to eliminate that person immediately. One bad apple could spoil the bunch.
Be real & genuine
When building strategic relationships, one of the best things that you can do is be authentic. You want to be a straight shooter and transparent in your communications. You will expect those in your power circle to also be genuine and truthful. Honesty will take you a long way and it is something that cannot be bought.
Surround yourself with people who are smarter than you
Another phrase that has caught me eye is, “if you are the smartest person in the room, then you need to change rooms.” Successful people are also eager learners, which means it’s in your best interest to surround yourself with smart individuals for the sake of acquiring knowledge. If you can’t get in the room with them, read about them, watch videos about them or get stories from someone who has been near them. Wise counsel will lead you in the direction of prosperity.
Have a variety of ecosystems
I learned this tactic from the book How to be a Power Connector by Judy Robinett. According to dictionary.com, an ecosystem is “a system, or a group of interconnected elements, formed by the interaction of a community of organisms with their environment.” When Robinett discussed this in her book, she explained that you should have a variety of people in your network. It is ideal to know entrepreneurs, lawyers, people in media, government officials, athletes, authors/writers, business executives, musicians… (you get the point).
To conclude with another popular phrase: “Your network equals your net worth.” Once you are able to learn how to properly cultivate relationships, it won’t be long before you are well-connected. Successful individuals have gotten to where they are largely because of the relationships they have established. Remember, people are your greatest resource and we are in the era of connecting!