We can all agree that your network is a critical part of your success. Be it from introductions to people you can work with, to guest posts on influential websites, to just soaking up knowledge from experience and theory, your network is one of the greatest tools you can have.
Yet just as people obsess over how many people follow them on Twitter or how many Facebook fans they have, too many people approach networking thinking quantity, not quality.
There is little value in just knowing Person X or CEO Y – having them on your LinkedIn or them following you on Twitter is no big deal.
The real value is having a connection with these people. An actual relationship. The people in your network have to find you of value. And without value, you’re just another person they know.
So it sometimes boggles my mind how protective people are of the people they know.
To me, there is no better way to show value (and that you appreciate the connection) than by introducing people who should know each other.
And the introductions don’t even have to be about business. It can be about shared interests that they are both passionate about. For example, I love introducing strong people to each other. They often end up talking about injuries they have had to overcome, common people they know/respect, etc.
I also love introducing people in one field who are also in another field (eg: doctors in fitness).
Every time I do such an introduction, I’m showing that I value them for their intelligence and knowledge. That I’m thinking of them. That I respect what they do, and want them to know other cool people too.
And it’s not always about introductions. I’ve chatted with Noah Kagan a few times, and I’ve been reading his blog forever. And I love what he’s done with SumoMe.com – simple and easy to use. And since I talk at conferences on emails and how to maximize revenue, I mention that SumoMe.com makes a lot of this easy and that you should use it. Hell, I got SumoMe onto Schwarzenegger.com (I’m an advisor there).
I also love submitting to reddit (been there on 9 years, yeesh) and tweeting links. If a trainer writes something I think others should read, I’ll be the first to submit it there (I’m a top 1% user there). I frequently tweet at people – both with links I think they’ll find interesting and whenever I read something awesome.
Lastly – I know what I’m good at (relative to other people in the industry) – web development and making money. People I know ask me questions all the time, and I’m happy to help. I give my 2 cents freely.
At the end of the day, I’m showing all these people that I’m not just here to make money off of them. That they aren’t just another “lead.” I firmly believe in the rising tides philosophy, and I want them to be more successful.
And you know what – I generally don’t do any of this with an ulterior motive. If people are cool, and/or their product is good, then why not do it? Any of the examples I mentioned above – what did I lose? I treat every connection as a friend – and so introducing them to another friend they would get along with is a no brainer. For example, since SumoMe works great and makes life easy – why not recommend it??
And the most important part of all of this – by helping your network, they will help you. They will want to help you. And this isn’t some spiritual claim about karma or “do unto others as you would have them do unto you” gospel. It’s just logic.
As such, I’ve been introduced to so many brilliant people and have had so many amazing successes because I try to be helpful.
And that’s how your network is both overrated and underrated. It’s overrated because too many people think “I know X Y Z” and don’t realize that it means nothing – if they don’t see value in you, it’s pointless. And it’s underrated because you could be unlocking so much more if you actually nurtured it (treat it like a plant, not like currency).
And so I’d like to leave you with some homework – go out and introduce two people you know that should know each other (but don’t). And then keep doing that a few times a week. And just like compound interest, this will leave your network will be more robust than ever (and you will reap the benefits).