One of the most fundamental human needs is that of connection with others. When setting out to build relationships, always keep in mind the reasons why you want to build the connection with a specific person or influencer. You want to build strong mutually satisfying relationships, where both parties benefit, not just to be able to name drop because you can.
It’s about doing your research, about deciding who are the people you want to reach out to and then developing a plan to connect.
Ever heard the expression “Your NETWORTH = Your NETWORK”? Well its true. Research has shown that we are all the average of the 5 people we spend the most time with. This applies both in business and in our personal lives.
Therefore, in order for you to move to the next level or the direction you want to go into, you need to surround yourself with the right people. People that will push you to get better. It’s about building strong relationships with those people and influencers to get you there.
Direct and Indirect Relationships
Keep in mind that these relationships need not always be direct relationships, it could just be indirect. I developed these terms for myself many years ago.
Living at the bottom point of Africa has always been a limiting factor in some ways. At the start of my journey years ago, we weren’t as blessed as we are today with many “Big” names actually coming and having their events here. We had to be content with building relationships with them from afar.To build strong relationships with influencers always add value to them first. #influencers #buildrelationships Click To Tweet
Reading their books, subscribing to their blog and newsletter but never actually having the opportunity to meet with them personally or seeing them in person. Yes, Social Media to a large extend enables one to reach out and connect but it’s not the same as actually meeting them or being in their presence. This should not however preclude you from adding them into you list of desired contacts.
Whichever way you can or decide to connect with them, it still counts as bringing them into the group of people that you surround yourself with.
It all starts with you
One common denominator in this whole process obviously is you. Before you can start your research and planning you need to make some decisions first. Here are some questions to get you started:
- Who or what do I need to sideline out of my life to move forward?
- Who or what do I need to bring into my life (even remotely) for me to move and grow?
- What am I prepared to do to ensure that I get better and reach my goals and vision for my life, my brand or business?
- Is this the right direction for my brand or business?
- What do I want to achieve from building these relationships?
- What can I offer in return ?
It’s about getting clarity in your own mind so that your actions can deliver the best results.
Practical tips to building strong relationships
Do your research and find the movers and shakers in your industry, be it professional or business, whom you would like to meet and learn from. LinkedIn is an excellent platform for you to be able to do this, providing you have your own profile on there as well. Make sure that your profile is up to date and if not, research the right way in which to structure it. It’s not going to help if you reach out to somebody and they check you out and it looks as if your 8-year-old has written your profile.
Whilst doing your research keep in mind that not all influencers use all the platforms. Some influencers prefer one platform over others as its better suited to their niche or industry.
Take the time to do this properly and it will reward you tenfold in the long run.
Identify your peeps
Identify the influencers and specialists that you believe will add the greatest value to you, your business or brand.
This is going to take time, but if you also speak to people you trust and look up to, they will most definitely be able to point you in the right direction. Most times they are only too happy to share who adds value to their lives and that they have learnt from.
Build your list and rather make it longer than shorter. Sometimes influencers have so many followers that they really are not able to connect with anybody directly.
Develop a plan how to connect
Once you have identified all the “right” people you want to build relationships with, develop a plan of how you are going to connect with them. Buy their books, send them a review, attend their events, comment on their social media posts, learn what is important to them and then add value back to them in whatever way you can. They will take notice, this I can promise you as I have done this myself. It works.
Reach out to people that you already know that possibly have direct access to some of these individuals and find a way that you can actually get to meet them in real life. Again, it’s about adding some value to that individual before asking for an introduction.
What do you want to achieve with the relationship
Get very clear about your goals and what you want to achieve. This will become the foundation for bringing the right people into your life, to help you achieve those goals and manifest your vision of the future.
Knowing why you want to build that relationship, makes it much more powerful and effective. It will also help you to focus in what ways you can add value back into the relationship and make it mutually beneficial for all.
Always add value first
When reaching out to these influencers and specialists – DO NOT try to sell yourself to them or ask them to help you, first add as much value to them as what you can, so that they notice you and start reaching out to you themselves. This is possible if done in the right way and social media is very powerful to do exactly this.
I did this with one of the top Social Media Influencers in the world where I contacted him via Social Media and gave him some feedback about his updated website. I then shared a tip on some handy software to improve his customer retention. The end result was when he came to South Africa for personal reasons he changed his schedule and arranged to meet me for lunch. I now chat with him frequently and have an open invitation to visit his home whenever I am in his country.
Attend events where you believe they will be present and just go over and introduce yourself, but be prepared with something that you have learnt about them, that’s important to them. Then, as part of your introduction add some value back to them so that you become memorable.
Prepare and perfect your 29 sec. pitch
It’s an introduction where you tell them exactly who you are and what you do in 29 seconds – they will respect you the more for it, as you have come prepared and you are not wasting their time. If you struggle with this, find somebody that is a specialist in this field and ask them to help you with it, even if it costs you a little bit of money.
Practice it until its burned into your brain. Make sure its flawless – you will be remembered and that’s exactly what you want.
So in Closing…
Remember also, that your network should and will not remain static – but should expand and grow as you do and the people that have added the most value, should always remain as your inner circle.
Always keep in mind that influencers and specialists are also only people just like you and me. Find out what interests them, what’s important to them and you have an automatic in. Treat them with respect and add value to them and it will be returned for sure.
I wish you much success in growing the identified relationships. Happy hunting for those special people that will allow you to become a better version of yourself always and add to your growth and success.
Till next time