As a business coach and consultant, I’m often asked, “How were you able to get major corporations, celebrities, presidential candidates, millionaires, and even billionaires to partner with you and champion your business, products, and services when you were first getting started?” The next question is usually, “Is it possible for me, as an average person, to also build a multi-million-dollar business network?” You bet it is!
Nearly anyone can build a multi-million-dollar business network if you understand two key insights:
- Insight #1. Everyone is accessible if you raise your value to that person or company and approach them with enough “polite persistence.”
- Insight #2. Always focus on what is in it for the person or company that you want to help you.
Four powerful tips for building your network
- Target leaders and early adopters to achieve maximum results quickly
People generally fall into certain categories: leaders, early adopters, followers, and then everyone else. If you need assistance, start by targeting the leaders in your niche. Next, move on to the early adopters, and lastly, the followers.
- Visionary leaders and companies who are known for innovation and being on the cutting edge should be your first target. They are more likely to take risks on new ventures and individuals. As key influencers and opinion molders, their endorsements will carry significant weight, which will help your project or venture quickly gain momentum with the media other major players and the general public.
- Early adopters (those individuals who are always the first to try new things) should be your second target. Early adopters typically have large networks. If you can solve their problems, they can give your idea, project, or company a strong push early on.
- Followers should be targeted last as they need social proof before making decisions. Since they require validation from others before taking action, it will take longer to receive a “yes” from them if you do not already have a significant track record and major endorsements.
- Identify and raise your value to get more people to help you
Most people make the mistake of seeking help with an “I need” or “I want” mentality. Instead, you should focus on the value and benefit that you can create for the people that you want to help you. Take inventory of the skills, assets, and contacts that you bring to the table which can help them. You should not ask or expect “something for nothing.” You will have much greater success when seeking partners if you appeal to their self-interest rather than their sense of obligation or good will. Even if you don’t have upfront cash to compensate people, you can always:
- create an income opportunity for them
- refer business to them
- generate publicity for them
- connect them with influential people in your network
- help support their favorite cause or charity
- Offer turnkey solutions to avoid resistance
You can significantly increase your income, credibility, and odds for long-term success by offering turnkey solutions. By presenting well thought out, ready-made, and proven solutions that require little to no work on behalf of your mentors, colleagues, joint-venture partners, and customers, you can dramatically increase your buy-in, support, sales, customer retention, and referrals. Profit lies in reducing the amount of work that others must do to receive the benefit that your idea has to offer.
- Follow up with polite persistence to get a “yes!”
Successful individuals and decision makers in major organizations are very busy people. They have many issues and opportunities competing for their time. So, when approaching these busy individuals, you will often hear “no” initially. Don’t be discouraged. Many people will need to see your marketing message up to nine times before they take action, which is why education-based marketing campaigns are so important and extremely effective.
Ultimately, 80 percent of your success will be the result of your soft skills-;your ability to network and form mentoring relationships, strategic partnerships, joint ventures, and political alliances. Those with limited networks are always the last to know and the last to be helped. Without question, your network is a direct reflection of your net worth. Leverage these four great tips now to expand your relationships and your business and income opportunities.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com or Visa.