Work Your Existing Network

Hi, this is Nick Miller with another in our series of podcasts, this one on “Working Your Existing Network”.

The idea of a personal marketing program is to be a strong magnet, to attract the people, companies, and situations that you serve best. There are three essential foundations of a personal marketing program:

  • A clear idea about who you serve best or who you want to serve best – the people you want your network to feed you. We’ve called that a Focus.
  • A message that describes what you do, who you do it for, how you do it, and what’s different about you, supported by stories that demonstrate your capabilities. We’ve called that Attractification.
  • Third, a network engagement plan that starts with a core group of five to fifteen people to whom you are very close and who are also close with people you want to attract and who are enthusiastic about introducing you. We’ve called them “The Inner Circles.”

They are the foundation of your personal marketing program and the idea is to engage them and nurture them, and, just generally, “stay in front of them, over and over again, in a way that positions you as a likeable expert” so they know WHY they would refer to you and so they think of you immediately when they see an opportunity.

So, a focus, a message, a plan, and a core group of fans who have a stake in your success and who are willing to tell other people about you and introduce you. That’s the foundation.

With that in place, the next step is to broaden the communications and engagement plan beyond that core group of fans to a wider group of people. I’m calling this “working your existing network.”

“Network members” could include current or former clients, people in professional practices, board members, neighbors, family members, friends, and people with whom you do business on a personal level.

And, while the idea is the same – “Stay in front of people you know, over and over again, in a way that positions you as a likeable expert”, there are more people involved, so, consider prioritizing the wider group of people based on how close you are to them and how connected they are to the people, companies, and situations that you want your network to feed you. Highest priority goes to those with strong personal relationships with you and strong connections to people you want to attract.

Once you have determined which of your broader network members are the highest priority,

  1. Connect with them.
  2. Look for ways that you can assist them, so you give first.
  3. Share “what’s new” with you … your new emphasis

To “stay in front them, over and over again, in a way that positions you as a likeable expert,” check in with them routinely – how are they doing, what sorts of client issues are they seeing, what resources are they looking for, and so on. Share stories about the clients you’re working with and the problems you’re solving. Introduce them to people they’d like to meet, great! Refer them business. Even better.

And, because there are tens or maybe dozens more people in this broader group, you can’t give people in this broader network the same level of personal attention you give each of your Inner Circles members. You need to be efficient.

You can be efficient electronically – Pass relevant or stimulating articles or links through mail or email. Post or comment on articles on LinkedIn or in industry-specific blogs or websites.

And, you can be efficient “in person” by leveraging events like bank events, community events, and industry events as a way of staying visible and sharing what you can. Go to the events, invite network people to the events, speak at the events, if you can, and connect with them at events.

If you really want to go for it, create your own small-group events – dinners, golf, morning walks,  ice cream, beach walks, museum tours,  flower shows, whatever you think the invitees would enjoy and that would enable you to connect with each of them during the event. Good leverage of time, because you include multiple people. Strong positive memories. Do one of these a month with rotating groups of people.

So, to “work your existing network”, survey the people you know beyond the inner circles, prioritize them based on how close you are to them and how close they are to the people you want to attract, find ways to be helpful to them, share your new emphasis, and then stay in front of them through check-ins, resource sharing, referrals, and events, positioning yourself as a helpful, likeable expert.

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