Mel Lester of The Business Edge recently wrote a great post on the intrinsic value of your network on his E-Quip Blog. Here is a small sampling of what he had to say:
“So now when I’m helping my clients improve their business development process or providing sales training or speaking at a conference on the subject, I always stress the importance of networking. But not just as a sales tactic. I encourage people to get serious about networking for the intrinsic value of those relationships alone. Bottom line: Make friends, take care of them, and you’ll reap the rewards, both personally and professionally, for years.
This is not just advice for old guys or rainmakers or managers. It’s sound advice for everyone. I urge young professionals to develop the habit of building and nurturing their network now so hopefully they won’t struggle with it as much later as I do. It takes time and discipline. You must make it an immutable priority.”
“…networking should be the centerpiece of your business development strategy, whether the economy is weak or strong.”
I couldn’t agree more, thanks for the great post Mel!
We are all born with an innate human need to be in relationships. I look at my children and can easily see how this need manifested itself early in life, primarily concentrated on the need for relationships within our family structure. As they have grown, I have seen how this need for relationships has influenced their decisions both for good and for bad. What has been constant throughout their lives and mine is the need for relationships.
Your innate human self wants to network
Almost 100% of people that I speak with agree that networking is about relationships. So how is it then that if we are all born with a need for relationships, most people feel networking is difficult or even painful? It is because we have incorrectly defined networking as part of the sales process. Yes, it can produce sales, and it can even find you a new job, but that doesn’t mean that it is part of the sales process.
Not everyone is made to be in sales, just like not everyone was made to be an engineer, but everyone was made for relationships. So why not leverage who you are to your advantage? Remember, networking is nothing less than helping other people with the end goal of building mutually beneficial relationships. Networking is something that you can do with others from your existing company, with others outside of your company, or preferably both. It isn’t about attending the right networking event, it is about relationships, something that all of us were designed to do in the first place. When you stop selling and start truly networking you will find the joy of strong relationships built out of selflessness.
In the December edition of SMPS Marketer Sara Gammill of EDI Architecture writes a great article about how to position your marketing department as a strategic partner inside your company. You would think that marketing would always be a strategic partner yet many companies, especially those in the service industry, struggle to understand the importance of marketing in a successful business. Here are a couple of my favorite recomendations from the article:
Educate others about what marketing is.
Most technical staff don’t realize what marketing is or how they benefit the company beyond proposal writing. Make it your mission to educate others about how everyone is involved in marketing and how your department benefits the bottom line.
Don’t be afraid to innovate.
You are never too junior or too senior to generate new proposal processes, to spearhead programs that will save your company money or raise morale, or to draw attention to your firm by shining in a professional organization. Don’t settle for, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.”
Sara also identifies “act like a leader” as another of her ten keys. I couldn’t agree more, when you act like a leader most often it is followed by being viewed as a leader. Thanks for the great article Sara!