Of course you need a network! Don't let the title fool you. BUT...you might not know how easy it can be to build a strong professional network. Yes, it will take some time and concentrated effort on your part, but it's really not as hard as you might think, and anyone purposefully mindful about growing their network can achieve results here. Introverts and extroverts alike - I promise!
Remember genuineness reigns supreme. If you aren't genuinely interested in getting to know others as you connect with them, the exercise itself will be futile.
If you are relatively new to sales as a profession, maybe even graduating and entering the workforce during the pandemic...there's a chance you've not yet had the time, guidance, or focus to begin building and nurturing a strong professional network.
For many of us, personal and professional networks overlap all of the time. It's how we like to work. It's who we are. For others, personal networks are kept quite private and professional networks are separate. They rarely overlap. There's no right or wrong answer here.
It's probably best to start with this one question.
Would a stronger professional network help me meet my sales goals - this year or in future years?
If the answer is a resounding yes - check out this list of 10 things you could do right now to invest in yourself and your professional network.
10 things to do to build a network quickly and effectively:
Invest time in your LinkedIn profile and brand
Purposely block time on your calendar to attend (virtual or in-person) events that help you advance the right professional network
Connect with people you already know in real life on LinkedIn
Attend a university alumni event for your own university or that of a close friend, relative, partner or spouse
Offer to host an alumni event; and make sure the format includes a few minutes for you to introduce yourself (and maybe a dynamite guest speaker!) and thank everyone for attending
Join an association, non-profit, or other community-related group - especially if others in your field have found value it working with the group
Contact an association or group you are already active with and ask if you can work the check-in table at an upcoming in-person event - introduce yourself to every single person who stops at your table
Attend one more event this month than you did last month (or set the bar even higher)
Don't be afraid to ask people what they do for a living - when you are out walking the dog, at a community event, at a sporting event, and all of the other in real life moments we have each week. Then, purposely reach out to that person in the near future - maybe a LinkedIn invitation and an offer for a cup of coffee - and ask questions about how they built their professional network along the way - if they'd be willing to offer guidance and advice to you.
Host a leadership breakfast, dinner, or roundtable inviting those you know could benefit from meeting each other - you become the conduit. (Don't be afraid to really research this as an option, talk to a trusted mentor, and decide if it could be right for you at this stage of your sales career).
If done well, your efforts to build a professional network could last you many years, maybe even your entire career.
I'm guessing most of these 10 ideas are not novel to you...it's committing to put them into practice and add purposeful networking into your weekly calendar that might be something worth thinking about.
If you have comments or questions on any of these, or have more of your own to add, comment here, on the LinkedIn post or private message me. Let's keep the conversation going!
You've Got This!