We’ve all heard the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” With business and daily life being dominated by faceless emails and emotionless messaging, this statement may be more relevant than ever.
Bloggers and webpreneurs are networking like mad in pursuit of traffic and sales, and they’ll kiss anyone’s butt and leave no comments section untouched by their personal URL. But there’s a better way to network.
It’s a wonder that the marketing and advertising world hasn’t capitalized on it, but that’s because they can’t use it. Why? This networking approach doesn’t use fancy tactics, specialized templates, or a detailed script. All it requires of us is to be human.
Here are 5 ways to build a network of loyal, raving fans:
1. Make A Connection (AKA Give A Damn)
A survey by Earnest found 74 percent of people happy with their jobs used personal connections acquiring them. This is precisely why we’re networking — we want the benefits of connections so we can land a gig, join a golf club, or score a good deal on a tile shower. But making “connections” with people in this way isn’t about connecting, it’s about using people for our own interests. If we want real connection, we are going to have to care about someone other than ourselves.
Personal development guru Jim Rohn said, “The more you care, the stronger you can be.” Marketing companies would surely interpret this as meaning that caring gives you better leverage or more business power, but that ain’t it. When we care about something, our caring makes us attentive, mindful, and deliberate. Caring inspires us to create new standards, hopes, and goals. When we care — people can see it, hear it, and feel it. That is how you make a connection, and that is how you find loyal and raving fans.
2. Recognize Their Value As A Human Being
Tony Robbins says that there are six core human needs that fuel our relationships. Two of these are the need for significance and the need for contribution. Essentially, we want to feel like we matter, and we want to know that we have something to offer the world. Being looked at as a dollar sign or for networking value do not fulfill these two core needs.
A person’s value has nothing to do with their money or where they graduated. It lies in the significance of their skills, know-how, passions, and life experiences. It’s this significance that gives us all our unique and specialized ways of contributing to the world.
There is INSANE value in that. Raving fans and admiring connections may indeed be great sources of capital funds, but above all, they’re people. And they should be great people. If we aren’t a fan of our desired fan, that’s probably a relationship we’re better off without. Time is short and energy is priceless. Use them well and use them wisely.
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Desmond Tutu
3. Put Emotions To Work (AKA Be Real And Feel)
Emotions are the magic of connection. It’s absolutely impossible to create real connection without them, because they’re the very thing that draw people together. Literally. Studies by Heart Math Institute have discovered that the heart (our emotions) produces an electromagnetic field of energy which goes out beyond our bodies. Even crazier, these fields of emotional energy interact with the emotional energy fields of others. This is why we can “read” people. It’s a real thing!
What does this mean? Well, a sleazy salesman would gather that emotions can be used to make himself seem friendlier so he can score some more sales. Which is really true, but the point here is that our emotional energy is a form of intelligence. This intellect gives us the ability to tune into the mental/emotional state of ourselves and others.
When properly understood and developed, this emotional intelligence enables awareness, introspection, and mindful responses. It’s our own inner guide which advises us in interacting with people and in understanding situations. It’s always there, it’s always got something wise to say and…. It’s free! No networking technique can top a well-developed emotional intellect. Try it.
4. See Things From Their Perspective
Have you noticed how big businesses like Coke and Pepsi dove into inclusive multicultural marketing? Whether you like Kylie Jenner’s Pepsi ad or not, this kind of perspective is crucial to engaging with people. To be successful in business, relationships, or even in being a human being, we’re gonna have to connect with a variety of people and situations and ideas. Having an open mind and broad perspective is non-negotiable.
But you can already see from the perspectives of others, right? We like to think so, but understanding doesn’t happen by making assumptions, interrupting, half-assed listening, or throwing out magical “solutions” we pull out of our butt. Understanding takes time, and that takes contemplation, clarifying questions, and full attention. Only when we do that can we dare to hope that we’ll be able to have some idea of who a person is and what they’re going through. Until we do that, we may as well have our head in a hole in the sand.
“Treat others as you wish to be treated. Don’t just be nice, but be kind to other people. That can be so rewarding.” – Mary Lambert
5. Serve Others (And Show What You’re Worth)
Everyone wants a favor. Yet, ask for one in return, and there’s a price to pay. This isn’t a favor. Actually, favor is defined as “an act of gracious kindness” or “giving special privilege.” If the “favor” is being done in exchange for something, that’s bartering. Barter all you want in business, but this “Me! Me! Me!” mentality has no place in a quality relationship.
Quality email marketing campaigns can land $38 for every $1 spent, but that’s all thanks to probability and email templates. What does have a place in relationships is true help and genuine care. True fans don’t come by chance. They happen when we demonstrate our worth by contributing value. Self-promoting newsletters and bio pages are a dime a dozen. Skills in action are natural advertising at its finest.
Do you have a network of people who just can’t get enough of you? We’re all itching to hear your tips and ideas, so tell us more in the comments below.
Image courtesy of Twenty20.com