Small business answers — NOW!

Developing a network

Question
What should I focus on when building a personal network? 
Answer
Focus on building strong relationships with potential connections and strengthening the relationships you already have.

Master networkers know that having a good contact doesn’t necessarily make someone a good connection. It’s not “what you know,” or even “who you know.” It’s “how well you know them” that really counts in building a powerful personal network. This means your network must not only be broad, it must also be deep.

When you’re considering asking someone in your personal network for a favor, ask yourself if they’re a “contact” or a “connection.” In this context, a contact is someone you know, but with whom you haven’t fully established a strong relationship. A connection is someone who knows you and trusts you because you’ve taken the time to establish credibility with them.

You really do have to earn the loyalty and engagement of your referral sources. Your focus shouldn't be, “what’s in it for me?” but rather, “what can I offer you?” 
Brain Trust contributor: Dr. Ivan Misner is the Founder and Chairman of BNI and author of many books, including Truth or Delusion?and Masters of Success
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