Steps to Networking – Step 32: Prioritize

Written By Rick Frishman Published April 5th, 2010

STEP 32: Prioritize

Select your targets precisely and limit the number of targets you pursue. Instead of trying to saturate large groups, initially concentrate on reaching a few key people who can provide concrete help. Often, when you try to cover everything, you end up handling little well.

Choose a few realistic targets and focus in on them. Identify potential targets and research them thoroughly. Find out everything about them and become expert on their strong points, passions, weaknesses, interests, aversions, hobbies, families, background, habits, histories and connections. See how they link with your strong points, passions, weaknesses, interests, aversions, hobbies, families, background, habits, histories and connections. What you learn through your research will give you insights on how to approach them and how to build and maintain a rewarding relationship when you’ve connected.

NETWORKIG NUGGET

Writer, speaker and trainer, Dave Sherman, gave us a great example why he is called “The Networking Guy.” In February, 2003, a good friend of Dave’s was laid off from her job of 8 years and needed to quickly find another job. She contacted Dave who first identified what she was looking for and then sent an email to his 2,600 member network requesting their help in finding a job for his friend.

In less than 24 hours, Dave received well over 200 emails and at least 25 telephone calls with offers to help his friend. From the responses, he learned about over 80 job openings, many of which were good jobs with great companies. In less a week, Dave’s friend landed a great new job at a bank that offered her better pay and better benefits than her last job. That is the power of networking!

When Dave’s friend called Dave, she contacted someone who had the ability to quickly reach over 2,600 people with a single email. If she had not known Dave, it could have taken her forever to reach that many contacts.

Make sure that your targets have the ability to provide what you want. Remember that you have limited time, resources and energy and if you try to cover too much you could squander your valuable assets. When you have too many targets, it’s difficult to give each the attention it deserves. When you have too many balls in the air, it takes only one misstep for most of them to fall. Spreading yourself thinly makes it harder to maintain control. It reduces the likelihood of success and leads to your becoming discouraged. So target precisely because you don’t want to waste your precious time pursuing the wrong people or attending irrelevant meetings.

Be realistic. Don’t shoot for the brightest stars unless you have a realistic chance and solid plan for reaching them. Even then, examine the feasibility of approaching every target cautiously.

Powerful people surround themselves with multiple layers of protections that are specifically designed to keep the uninvited away. To reach them, you have to circumvent electronic fences, which can be time consuming and frustrating – – – like sitting forever on hold and being treated coldly. And when you reach celebrity targets, they may not deliver. So don’t waste your time trying to go where you’re not wanted. If you have a strong lead, pursue it, but expect resistance. When you feel strong resistance, politely say “Thanks,” move away and focus your efforts on Target Number 2.

Connect the links. Review your network roster and find connections on which to build. Link your connections like a set of steps that will lift you to higher floors. Start with small steps; build and be patient. Prepare for a slow, steady ascent. Don’t rush.

Carefully select targets who know you, who you can reach and who can deliver what you need. Start with those who will be happy to help you. Although your close contacts may not be able to deliver as much as celebrated authorities, they are more likely to actually provide what they promise. So start with them and build steadily.

As you grow and make new contacts, build upon them at each stage. Concentrate on developing a reputation for quality, expertise and honesty; become well respected and well known; then people in power will approach you. Move slowly, incrementally and steadily.

(Excerpted from NETWORKING MAGIC: Making Connections That Will Change Your Life By Rick Frishman and Jill Lublin With Mark Steisel)


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