If you have ever built a successful friendship, you can build a powerful professional network.
When you first met a friend there’s a good chance that you met at a central location, had a great conversation, and decide to meet up again. If everything went well you continued to hang out.
One of the biggest mistakes people make when trying to build a professional network is they ask for something right after they meet someone.
Would you ever ask any of the following questions below when trying to build a friendship?
- Can you introduce me to your good-looking friend?
Networker’s version: “Can you please introduce me to the hiring manager of your company?”
- Do you have any similar friends to whom you could introduce me to?
Networker’s version: “Do you know anyone else in the industry that is hiring that you would introduce me to?
- Send a text message the next day asking for a favor?
The Networker’s version: Sending a follow up email: “Can you please forward my resume to the hiring manager, because I could really use a job?” (Here is an example of what a networking follow up email should look like.)
I know you are saying to yourself right now, “How ridiculous! I would never attempt to build a friendship like that.” If that were the case, why would you try to build your professional network that way?
Building your professional network is similar to the way you build a friendship
The end goal of each is the same. You are building a group of people who care about you and whom you can trust and count on when you’re in a tight spot.
This is how you would build a friendship with someone you just met:
- You would continue to hang out and build your relationship: going out to dinner, drinks, or coffee.
- You would share things that the other person might find valuable: a great new nail salon, a great place to eat dinner, or a website with great relationship or fitness advice.
- After doing these things over and over again, your relationship would get stronger over time.
Sharing valuable advice is one of the best ways to keep in contact with people in your professional network.
I love to send great articles or helpful advice that my contacts will find valuable.
I sent the email below to the CEO of a public relations agency (where I use to work) that focuses on marketing to women.
“Good Morning Jill,
I thought you would find the below article really interesting. It talks about brands that are marketing to women without using the typical stereotypes.
The Courage to Advertise Without Female Stereotypes Marketing to Women: (link to article)
Have a great week!
Her response: “Thanks for sending John. It’s great to hear from you. Please keep in touch.”
Why does a simple email like this build our relationship?
- I am providing a very busy person with valuable information that I know she will love.
- I am not asking for anything in return. There are no strings attached in this email, which is almost unheard of in today’s world of networking.
- Think about how you feel when someone takes time out of their day to share something with you that they know you will love. It makes you feel special. Successful networkers are experts in making people feel special.
Staying in touch with your professional network is crucial to your career success
There is a good chance that you wouldn’t neglect your friends for six months, so don’t neglect your personal network either!
I want you to do two things
1. Leave a comment at the bottom and tell me your favorite ways to keep in touch with people in your professional network.
2. Email a valuable article to someone in your professional network. Your email can be as simple as the one I wrote above.