Building your Network

Yes, it’s the middle of the week already. I hope you are finding the tools that are needed for your success. No matter what you choose to do in life, you will need tools to make it happen.  For 20 years of my working life, I was in the automotive field. I have worked in almost every part of the automotive industry. One of the things about this field is you always need new tools to be able to repair cars. It has been 13 years since I worked where I used the tools for repair as part of my daily work, and it has been seven years since I have used those auto tools in any way to make my living. An interesting thing about them is the basics are still there even though newer, high tech tools and different ways to use of them make them outdated. But the basics never get outdated.

I have the basic hammer, wrenches, sockets, and such. They are still the same; the ones I paid high dollars for can now be picked up at a local Sears or Lowes. They are basic and they never change. It’s like they are timeless. Well, today we are going to talk about something that is timeless in the tools of success.

A few years ago when starting over, I spent some time with a close friend of mine, Brian. He is the founder of Brian Kennedy Global. One thing he and I have discussed many times, both online as well as in person, was the age-old tool of networking. Now we have great tools out there to build our network, or list of people we work with and who work with us. But the idea of how to build and use a network of people has not changed even if the tools for putting together a network have changed.

Think about the last time you went to a networking event. What was the purpose of the event? Think about your list of those who follow you on Twitter, facebook, LinkedIn, or any other social media site. For years, going to your local event had a purpose of helping you find people who needed your product or service, while using others at the event as your sales team. The other part is you also become part of the sales team of the others at the networking group, by telling those people about a service you found, or telling the people providing the service about friends of yours who are in need of it. It’s a great system of people helping people.

What is changing in this great old-fashion tool? So many times people who are not professionals go to these events to collect as many business cards as they can and get home and start calling all the people to start the sales pitch. This same tactic is being used on Twitter and other social networks as well. My Twitter network grows at about 20 to 30 people each week. I choose not to be part of one of the great Twitter follower programs, but instead I build my network by finding people to build relationships with. What I find is people who are still just sending me smaller sales pitches, hoping that I’ll bite and look at their website, maybe even buy the product or service they are pushing.

The old part that makes a network of people grow is the part where we find the fit. I used to hate the sales person who was always trying to sell car insurance but forgot the most important question: do you own a car? You see, in the old world of networking, it was about building a relationship with the person, working to help them with connections you have for their product or service, then asking them for friends they may know who could use what you offer. In the relationship part, you know your friends, and would not just give a list of your friends to someone else to call about, say, car insurance. You would tell of your friends who you knew were dissatisfied with the car insurance they currently had. That takes the frustrating part out of connections that don’t benefit either party.

Now on my Twitter page, as I said, I get many new followers who follow me for one day and then send me eight or ten sales pitches with a link to whatever program they are trying to sell, or product they are working to push. If I do not buy, they stop following me. We all hate the spam emails – the ones that do the same thing, shoot you ten emails in a week with no great information, just a sales pitch.

So as we are in the middle of this week of tools of success, it’s time to ask: “Are you using your tools correctly?” Let’s go back to the automotive tools. If you know the difference between a regular and a Philips screwdriver, you may know you can use the regular flat if you work at it real hard to get a Phillips screw to turn, but why not get the tool that is meant for the job and stop frustrating yourself?

In the online networking field, in social media, or at local events, why not use the tools to make them work correctly and stop frustrating yourself? It’s time to start building relationships again, know the people you want to connect to. Currently I have a list of coaches who want to work with me. I love the fact that we will be working together some day in the future. We are not rushing into a joint deal with each other until the time is right. Some will become nothing more than a person I refer a client to because they specialize in an area I do not; with others, we will partner together and create events and programs. Time will tell. In the meantime, I’m getting to know them and build a relationship, just like I did with Gwynne. I urge you to build relationships, stop trying to just hand out as many business cards as you can or throw tons and tons of mud at the wall to find out what sticks. Get a plan to build with the people that you want to.

I’m Tim Gillette, the Rocker Life Coach. It’s time to live your dream, to love what you do and those you share life with. Start building relationships again and let the sales come naturally; soon you will be the RockStar in your world.

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