I'm in the networking industry. One of the hardest part of our job is building our database (client list). There are the traditional methods, make a list of all the people you know. Most people, when they die, will have 200 people attend their wake/funeral. Stands to reason you'll get 200 people on this list of names. Then you take the yellow pages and go through them. Do you have an accountant, auto worker, banker, custom cabinet builder – add those names to the list. Start calling. So you are calling people you know – and kinda know.
Isn't there any easier way?
Maybe. That's what we are going to try to do with this project. The blue statements were taken from Chris Brogan's invitation to to build a powerful network.
First, think about your goals in 2009. Build the network with two purposes on mind: how you can achieve your goals, and how you can help others achieve theirs.
So start thinking about your 2009 goals. My business goals aren't that difficult. I will reach Senior Director level in my business in 2009. That requires me to help 5 people become Directors. There's great joy in working in a business that requires you to help others in order to move up in status (and pay)!
My blog goals are shaping up as I write. Its beginning to look like I will be interviewing people on their viewpoint coming from a small business/small town perspective. I will also include articles that will help network marketing people. Those interviews are set up to answer specific questions that will help the reader.
My professional goals also include getting to a podcamp and setting one up in the Midwest. I'm sure these events will be helpful too!
You need authentication in a network. Start with a blog as a home base. Make it such that your about page tells people lots about you.
My blog is www.debworks.com This is where I have my interviews and networking articles.
A lot of companies have internet guidelines that must be followed. Mine is one of those companies. We are consumer direct marketing – and that requires me to actually have a conversation with someone, and not spam them with information not requested. It works for me, I'm customer service oriented.
I don't want to talk to the curious – I want to talk to the interested. This is where my about page is vital. I can put my work related websites there, and why someone would want to visit them. The overall information presented in the blog will be helpful to other companies and individuals, not just mine. Isn't that the point for a blog? To be helpful?
It doesn’t hurt to have a picture of YOU on the blog, as this will deal with building a trusted network.
My face is prominent right on the top of the page. But why not create a post with different pictures in different settings – include a story! I will do that. Becky McCray did that on www.smallbizsurvival.com Brilliant idea!
Start a Google Doc spreadsheet with the following fields: name, twitter ID, cell, capabilities, notes. Think of this as your routing table, your database of records of where resources reside.
I've done that. My headings (and what I put in the first row) are:
name: Deb Brown
twitter ID: @debworks
preferred method of calling: home, 641-458-1114
capabilities: interviews and Melaleuca
What I Offer: referral source for shopping for non-toxic products, interviews for blog/paper
Notes: please email or call me and let's have a conversation
If we are going to share this Google Doc, it needs to work for most people. I think this will do it! If you are ready to jump on board, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or give me a call. Let's talk!
Ask some probing questions on Twitter. If no one responds, ask again. See if there’s interest out there. What you’re doing at this point is sending out a signal that you’re looking for resources. (Like a computer, only you’re human.)
Ahh, here is the crux of the matter. We've set up shop and opened the doors. Now how do we get people to come in? So I asked if anyone is interested in a sharing network. I will post this blog and put it 'out there' (twitter and facebook) and see what the return is. I'll DM my fav contacts for their input. I'm asking you to make comments here!
Use Twitter Search to find some like-minded people. Work at this. Try all different kinds of queries until you find the right response. Send @ messages to these types of people. Ask them if they want to talk about collaborating.
I'm searching for network marketers and people who want to work from home. Utilizing twitter search – looks like network marketing pulled real well. So did work from home. I'll keep playing with this – and you will need to do so too. I'll follow some new people and check them out. Then I'll start sending @ messages asking if they want to collaborate! I'll be posting about that process in the next week or so.
From here, collaborate. Figure out how you can helpful. Understand each other’s needs, and share the resources. Try to build your goals and businesses together.
So this last bit of information leads me to think a little harder. I want to collaborate with people – not compete. So I have to think about who would be good partners. Maybe not other network marketings. I'm not looking to have people leave their company to come to mine. The person who jumps around from company to company – well, he/she's not for me. You know that old saying “if he left her for you, he'll leave you for someone else”.
Now, someone who WANTS to work from home, and is not currently doing so, would be a great match for me! I'll keep looking for better matches - and better opportunities to meet possible clients online! Updates to follow......
photo of jazz funeral provided by howieluvzus at flckr.com
photo of 3 women: three of my current business partners!