By Erin Daniels, The KNOW Women
We often hear “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know!” While we believe both are very important, networking to create valuable connections is one of the pillars of a successful business. These valuable interactions lead to growth in business, opportunity, and education and provide opportunities that may not have been accessible before.
According to Hubspot, 85% of jobs are filled through networking. In addition, while most of us look for new opportunities online, according to CNBC, 70% of jobs aren’t even shared on the internet. This is often referred to as the network gap, an advantage some individuals have over others because of who they know and how they know them. As a result, many may be missing out on opportunities they are qualified for, just because they don’t know the “right” people. Getting in the right room is the first step, but knowing what to do while you’re in there is equally important.
At KNOW, we are all about creating connections! It is what we do. We asked our KNOW powerhouses not only how to create dynamic, valuable connections, but also how to leverage them. Follow along on our four-part mini-series to see how these driven women are growing their businesses with the relationships they are building.
What piece of advice would you give to someone looking to expand their network?
Be super clear about how you want to expand your network. What are you seeking? Is it customers, connectors (referrals), friendship, etc. Knowing what you’re looking for dramatically shapes where you go to connect, the conversations you have, and who you speak with.
-Jennifer Lawrence, Jenerosity Partners
I would recommend talking with everybody, even if you don’t believe they can personally benefit you. This is where the magic happens in networking, as you never know who someone may be connected to. Don’t be shy, but be real, and don’t try too hard (as it shows).
-Karen Medford, Sirius Day SpasI would tell them to dig deep and decide what it is they are passionate about. Even if the cause or project is wholly unrelated to what they do for a living, getting involved with something they genuinely want to be involved with will help them develop meaningful authentic relationships–ultimately this will expand their network, but in the meantime, they will receive so many more intangible benefits!
–Juliet Burgess, The Burgess Law Group
Get involved! Put yourself out there and reach out to other like-minded individuals. Show up and be consistent by joining a mastermind, getting a mentor, attending events, and allowing yourself the opportunities to expand your network and build lasting connections.
– Alison Stine, Stine Wealth Management
Don’t be a “card pusher”. Look for 3 – 5 great connections per networking opportunity. Talk first before you hand over a business card. It’s the old saying, it’s better to have one to three good friends than a whole gaggle of them. That way, you don’t overwhelm yourself with follow up. Grant it, if someone ask for my card, happy to hand one over.
-Gina Sisbarro, Marco Office Supply