I was having a discussion the other day with a friend who was having a hard time finding a job. Yeah, I’ve had the discussion with him about how much easier it would be if he leveraged his gifts to work for himself. However, he finds himself faced with an immense personal roadblock. He finds it difficult to make connections. This issue is more common than you might think. Just last week, I attended Loral’s Power of Yes! event in San Francisco and the need for this skill made itself very obvious in the room. Someone had not only the opportunity to make a connection, but to make a SALE, and they didn’t go for it. Why? It just didn’t come naturally. Sometimes, making a connection won’t seem natural. Sometimes, it will take a little legwork, mind-work and a large dose of Yes! Energy to make it happen. But you CAN make it happen!
Here are a few techniques to try this weekend as you venture out to expand your network.
1) Carry business cards – Everywhere, no matter where you are going, you should have cards in your pocket and a smile ready (along with your elevator pitch) when they do come out of your pocket.
2) Work your online network – LinkedIn: Do an export and send a friendly hello to your list. Open up those doors. You never know who will invite you to walk through theirs.
3) Pick up the phone! – Have actual phone conversations. People who respond to your casual hello, ask if you can call them to catch up. If the conversation leans toward business (and it will because you should ultimately direct it that way) you can tell them what you have been up to, relay your success stories, trade war stories and ultimately seek referral.
4) Get OUT there! – You are not going to open doors by sitting at your computer and firing off emails. Attend some mixers. Find your local chamber. Support a local charity. Get out there, with your business cards in your pocket, and make a great impression.
You can DO THIS! Have a great weekend!