“If I had to name the single characteristic shared by all the truly successful people I’ve met over a lifetime, I’d say it’s the ability to create and nurture a network of contacts.” ~ Harvey MacKay
Do you ever wonder why some people are more successful than you? Why they always seem to get better deals, more sales, and better customer reviews? This is especially frustrating if you feel you’re better qualified, have more skills or offer a better product. You many be tempted to explain away their success as a simple run of good luck or the result of being in the right place at the right time but we all know it’s much more than that.
Scratch the surface and you’ll discover that most of these highly accomplished people are just ordinary folks – people like you and me – who happen to possess highly refined networking skills. These ordinary people achieve extraordinary results as they team up with other ordinary people and engage in the very human activity of networking.
No Matter How Smart You Are, No Matter How Talented, You Can’t Do It Alone.
Successful people do not achieve their success on their own. Instead, they surround themselves with a well-developed, sophisticated support network. Great networkers genuinely like to network. They live and breathe networking. Their core principal is a spiritual ideal common to all the world’s great moral systems: the concept of gaining through giving. They believe in cooperating with others and in helping others achieve success.
“Giver’s Gain” allows you to dig your well before you’re thirsty.
In the old days, it would take years to develop relationships and build a network because most of this was done in person. Today, Social networking provides an immediate and vastly-superior way to network. However, trying to sell a contact when you first connect with them is a great way to ruin a potential networking relationship before it begins.
You must first acquire the skills and mindset necessary to be a master social networker. All the tools in the world will never be enough to get you where you want to be. Your words sound hollow unless you operate from the core belief that high trust relationships have a high value in today’s business environment. Information comes at a premium and the most effective way to acquire information is often through relationships.
For most people, social networking is a learned behavior, like learning to swim. It’s a gradual – and often painful, even scary – process of trial and error, small incremental steps and finally a few breakthroughs. In the car business we have to get away from this old idea that we can quickly and easily sell a vehicle to someone. On average, consumers spend 11 hours online researching their next vehicle. Prospects have their own networks and rely on them for information when they’re contemplating a purchase.
Practice makes for better social networking. Tap into those communities and conversations. Learn to swim!
Some of the best sales people I know have relied on their network referrals for years! They work it and it pays off. Some have utilized Social Media and some haven’t. The more you exercise your social networking muscles, the stronger they get and the easier it becomes. Thank goodness for Social Media. You can practice your skills everyday without ever leaving your office!
I’ve often heard the rebuttal that “Social Media can’t sell cars.” This is old thinking and a dangerous excuse. It goes back to the days then we could broadcast messages to the masses and people would show up on the lot to buy. That forced relationship made it that much harder to close the deal.
Using Social Media to chat, engage and build a relationship with the customer prior to sale greases the wheels of the close. How can you begin to use Social Media to become a master networker?
- Recognize that everyone in your network is a potential referral. Conduct yourself appropriately.
- Participate daily. Forget about all the “privacy” threats you hear about in the media. Adjust your settings accordingly and start engaging in conversations.
- Seek out new experiences and make new contacts. Join Groups on Facebook and LinkedIn and start conversations around the things you’re an expert in. Use Twitter to meet new people and see how you can help them achieve their goals.
- Learn from those around you. I know many people who’ve become very successful by shadowing a thought leader and offering to help them or support their business. Remember, we all can’t do it alone.
- Be relentlessly useful. Turn yourself into the “likable expert.” Use Social Media to showcase your knowledge, display your expertise and help people.
Extraordinary people visualize not what is possible but rather what is impossible. Visualizing the impossible they begin to see it as possible. You can think of a million excuses to refrain from social networking. All it takes is one seed to grow your tree. Isn’t it about time you started planting?