Business owners understand the importance of consistently meeting new people. Meeting a ton of new people is great but very sharp professionals are very intentional with their networking and care more about the quality of people they are spending time with. We all know your attitude and income is a reflection of who you spend your time with.
If you are trying to break into a new market of people or looking to step up your contact spheres, you need to be introduced to and start building relationships with Centers of Influence or Influencers. Influencers are professionals who are very successful and who you perceive as a few steps ahead of your current state of business (or career). Influencers are well respected by their peers and are connected to the right people in their community (industry or geographically speaking).
Here is a simple but powerful agenda to follow when you have a first meeting with an influencer that you are looking to build a relationship with. Set a goal to have at least one of these conversations with a new influencer each month and you will start to build new perspectives and a more influential contact list soon.
Step One: Explain
After your small talk, start the meeting by simply explaining two things. First and most importantly you need to be able to articulate, with a bona fide passion, why you are in the business you are in and what you can see it becoming. Second, reconfirm the intent of the meeting.
Step Two: Memory lane
We can learn a lot from hearing about other people’s businesses and career paths. Also, people enjoy telling their story. Start off the learning process by asking the influencer:
“Can you briefly share how you built your business (or career) to where it is today?”
“What were your defining moments in your career?”
“Who were the people and relationships most important to your career?”
Step Three: Outside advisor
Now that you understand more about how the influencer got to where they are today, ask if they have any specific advice or ideas for you, as you look to advance your business or career. Take notes, and if you have success with one of their ideas in the future, be sure to tell them about it. This is also a good opportunity to invite the influencer to be on your ad hoc board of advisors. The intent here is to take them out to lunch twice a year to share your progress and struggles and to hear their outside perspective. Staying in contact with these influencers is almost as important as meeting them for the first time.
Step Four: Introduce
The last part of the meeting is to gain some introductions to other successful influencers that can also provide insight and possibly help you generate business in the future. Ask your influencer:
“If you were in my position today, who would be some other successful professionals that you’d be building relationships with?”
Then, if necessary follow up more specifically:
“Could we brainstorm the names of some people you think highly of that I could introduce myself to and have a similar meeting with?”
People will usually introduce you to people they perceive as peers or subordinates. As long as you are having this meeting with someone you feel is a few steps ahead of where you are, you will be building a more influential contact list.
By perpetually following this format with influencers, you give yourself the chance to build better, mentoring relationships all while building a more impactful, intentional and influential contact list.
Eddy Ricci, Jr., has been labeled as “the emerging expert in developing Gen Y sales professionals” by the chairman of Publicis Kaplan Thaler and is also noted as “understanding what motivates Gen Y sales teams. He is on my radar and should be on yours” by international speaker and NY Times bestselling author, Erik Qualman. Eddy is the director of a unique training and development collaborative platform that services financial planning firms in the northeast where he has arguably worked with more Gen Y financial professionals than anyone in the country over the past four years. He is the founder of The Growth Game, LLC. ,a professional development company and has authored a book that holds the same title. Eddy is a certified coach and specializes in helping professionals develop sales skills, leadership approaches and implement business development activity systems.WWW.THEGROWTHGAME.COM