A popular undergraduate introduced his latest girlfriend to his best friend. After the girlfriend exchanged pleasantries and passed the best friend’s eye test, he smiled broadly at the young lady and enthusiastically asked, “You got any partners!!?” The eager buddy smacked the core of networking in one question. He immediately cashed in social capital from his friend with the new love interest to create more personalized value.
He astutely calculated that his next opportunity could easily come from a very warm introduction from a party invested in his success. Likewise, the girlfriend wanted to launch a successful relationship with her new romantic partner. What better way to garner her new man’s favor and dominate his attention than by offering his buddy one of her cute friends? Business networking works the same.
Networking’s primary goal is to connect individuals to opportunities! Whether opportunities are personal, business or both, the transaction requires intentionality and personal interaction. Successful networking requires a plan. Prosperous professionals intentionally use connections to extend their reach. By accessing more people and recognizing their value, the resourceful networker multiplies connections with each relationship.
Social capital is an investment-grade asset. With expectations that introductions generate additional value, either immediately, or at some future point, investing in relationships yields stronger economic foundations. Exchanging contacts is an important strategy to create long-term gain. Prosperous networkers genuinely know and intentionally track the value of members of their network. The best relationships are sincere and sincerity is based on honesty. Connect people with genuinely aligned interests and clearly expect reciprocity.
The second step in growing a network is working together. Having partners clearly implies creating value and building teamwork. Growing social resources requires executing specific tactics focused on investing in ongoing success. Both sides of each transaction must benefit at some point. People do business with people with the expectation of personal gain. Consequently, combining resources for mutual growth is fundamental to business success. Having trusted partners that meet commitments and demonstrate abilities to execute results in group success.
Collaboration suggests that parties contribute resources and relationships for a profitable end. More importantly, collaboration suggests that opportunities will be revisited often. Organizations can have relationships that consistently yield results. Nevertheless, individuals, more importantly, must own profitable relationships. Organizations change for reasons beyond any single individual’s control. But, people’s fundamental character tends to remain steady. Understand contact’s core character before collaborating. Profits can be transactional. But, enduring value creates recurring wealth. That benefit results from accurately assessing individual character.
Whether interests are transactional, romantic, or both, relationship fundamentals are consistent. Results carry the day! Relationships are essential to creating value. An individual has talent, but connecting with others super-sizes value. Connections are foundational to networking, but are only the first step. Make introductions, and keep in touch. Actively seek opportunities to collaborate. Furthermore, collaborate with a long-term perspective. Each jointly successful transaction builds credibility and value that leverages into additional growth through an expanding network. A simple introduction on a college campus can lead to long-term, value-driven relationships based on trusts and shared secrets. To build that foundation, identify a trustworthy contact. Then ask, “Do you have any partners?”. Another successful networking plan just started!
By Glenn W Hunter
Managing Director of Hunter And Beyond, LLC