I’m not a big networker. I dislike networking events, I’m a hesitant public speaker, and I prefer to stay at home and watch a Netflix movie with my girlfriend rather than go out to a startup mixer here in the city.
But yet, I still meet new people every week and consistently expand my network. I call this the lazy way to build relationships — notice how I focus on building relationships rather than networking, as I’ve had greater success building strong, intimate relationships as oppose to having a bunch of acquaintances.
Find your why
The best leaders lead with a “why” as oppose to a “what” or “how”. With Apple, their “why” was to build the most beautiful, innovative, and simple products. They just so happened to build laptops, iPods, and iPads.
Find your “why”. Why do you do what you do? Why should people care? Why should people join, help, or be a part of your cause?
Your “why” will be the anchor point for how you build relationships and who you build relationships with.
Ask your friends for introductions
I build relationships through my friends. I do this through 2 specific ways:
1. Ask to be introduced to 3 people
I email my friends from time to time and ask them to introduce me to 3 people that they feel are relevant to me. I, of course let them know my “why”, which makes it easier for them to know who to introduce me to.
I make sure to include my short bio in the email so that they can easily make the email introduction:
I’d like to introduce you to my good friend Jun Loayza who is the President of Reputation Hacks. He leads reputation and content marketing for the largest rehabilitation centers in the US and has recently started the Beginner’s Guide to Reputation Management on his blog.
2. Search through LinkedIn to find connections
I also actively browse LinkedIn to find people that I’d like to meet. When I find someone that I want to get introduced to, I send the following email:
Hope all is going super well.
I’m looking to get connected to Name: www.linkedin.com/in/name
Can you send the following intro:
My friend Jun is an entrepreneur based in San Francisco. You can find out more about me here at his blog.
Summary: He’s successfully sold 2 companies, raised over $1 million in angel funding, and currently leads 2 profitable companies.
You guys should meet for coffee or lunch
Really appreciate it Name.
All the best,
I love Skype conversations
I love to set up video Skype conversations. You don’t have to worry about a commute, finding a seat at a coffee place, or leave your team at the office while you’re in the groove at work.
Yes, I do value in person meetings; however, I’ve found that leaving the office during the day does break up my schedule and my team and I just aren’t as productive. When I do video Skype meetings, I still get most of the benefit of the meeting and am able to stay productive throughout the day.
I’ve made a lot of connection through participating at the YEC. If you’re a young entrepreneur, I highly recommend that you join.
Making myself available through my sites
You’ll notice that I leave my direct contact number on my contact page. I used to exclusively prefer email, but the more and more I hop on phone calls, the more and more relationships I’ve built. Not everyone will call — only the most dedicated and motivated people will call you, which means it’s a good way to find the people that you should be building relationships with.
No matter who you are or what you do, it’s absolutely critical to build relationships. Even if you’re not a big networker, you can use the methods outlined above to get introduced to relevant people that will benefit your personal brand and your company.
Jun Loayza is the President of Reputation Hacks. In his entrepreneurial experience, Jun has sold 2 internet companies, raised over $1 Million in Angel funding, and lead social media technology campaigns for Sephora, Whole Foods Market, Levi’s, LG, and Activision.
Jun currently lives in San Francisco, CA with his fiancé.