It’s all in who you know when you are in the business world. Exactly who do you need to know though? More than that, how do you get to know them?
The people you need to know belong to a group known as influencers, and until you become one yourself, you need to make it a goal to find them and build relationships with them.
They are the ones that are just a step or so ahead of where you are. They have been down the road you are on, and they can help you around some of the obstacles they have already seen. Not only that, but they may even be able to offer advice that gets you to where they are faster.
How do you find them, and what then?
Take every opportunity to network. Get out to events and gatherings where these people will be. Try business afterhours events and community happenings. Anything that draws the business crowd.
Once you are there, keep an eye out. Talk to people, mingle, and listen for clues to who it is you need to know. Once you figure it out, introduce yourself. Offer them your card, and take theirs. If you really hit it off you can invite them to lunch one day for further discussion.
Be certain to make mental notes of anything you discuss and put them into real notes as soon as you get a chance, for future reference.
If it is just a quick exchange, simply file their information for later.
Make and Effort
Don’t’ be creepy, but make an effort to get to know this person. Ask around, see what you can find out. Do they have a family? Is there anything the two of you have in common? Do they love a certain lunch spot?
Then keep watch for an opportunity to meet up again. Invite them to that lunch spot, give them a call in relation to something you discussed, offer condolences if you hear of a death or congratulations if you hear of something that warrants one.
If you hear of opportunities that could help them, send them their way. Give them a call and let them in on it, ask permission before giving out their contact information, and remember that what goes around comes around. They will likely extend the same courtesy to you when presented with the chance.
Keep in Touch
Even if you have nothing else to say to them, about life or business, be certain to stay in their sights. When you see them, shake hands and say it is good to see them again. Send a card at the holidays. Eventually you will find an in to be able to pursue a more solid relationship and learn from them.
Of course, if you are outgoing, you can just start a conversation and tell them you admire their work and want to learn from them. That could be all it takes.
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