Leverage your Social Network

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If you want to build a successful business, you have to build a network of people and learn how to leverage your network. Building a successful business used to be easy. You just had to advertise your business and people would contact you. The problem is that people no longer pay much attention to advertising.
People rely on their friends and associates to refer businesses and especially professionals. So, you make to make an effort to communicate with your network and educate them about what you do and who you serve. And you need to support your network by finding out what they need and offering advice, making connections and serving them.

The benefits to building your social network are tremendous. Here are 6 keys on how to leverage your social network.

6 Keys to Leverage Your Social Network:

1. Get Out and Meet People

You need to get out and meet people, in person. It’s much easier to develop relationships in person than over the phone or online. So, every good networking strategy starts with attending events and meeting people.

Service professionals have to work two to three times as hard as someone with a brick and mortar presence to gain people's trust. Potential clients cannot simply "drop by" and check you out. This is where local networking becomes vital.

Go to local networking events, meet people, and, most importantly, let them meet you. This is where prospects and referrers can size you up and get to know, like, and trust you.

2. Build Relationships

It’s not enough to meet people, you need to build relationships. And it takes time to build trust and rapport so a relationship grows and bears fruit. Talk about what you do in a casual, professional way. And follow up with everyone you meet.

There’s no better tool to build and maintain relationships then the telephone. You can reach far more people by phone than in person. Schedule time every day to make calls and touch base with your network. You’ll benefit from it.

3. Stay in Touch Through Social Networking Sites

Whether you meet people online or offline, you can build relationships more quickly if you invite people to connect online through social networking sites. More people will come to know, like, and trust you. Familiarity creates confidence. These people are the ones who will read what you have to say, remember who you are and what you do, and refer others to you.

You can also connect with people through online forums. Take some time to get a feel for the group climate and the personalities of the group as a whole and its most vocal members in particular. Then post a question or offer advice on the listserv and add "posting" at least once or twice a week on your to-do list.

4. Support Your Network

Everyone needs help. People are always looking for answers. Be a resource. Look for opportunities to help people. This will help you to build trust and rapport. People will come to value you.

Givers gain. Respond to requests for help and share tips, strategies and resources. Take on the role of trusted advisor. When you help others, they will help you.

5. Connect People Together

Here’s a simple technique you can use to create value for people: Connect people together. There are always opportunities to introduce people. This is a powerful strategy. It allows you to create a lot of leverage.

A simple technique you can use is to send an email introduction. Send an email to two people you think should meet. Include their contact information and explain why they should meet.

6. Ask for Help

If you focus on creating value for other people, they will want to help you. And when you ask for help, it gives people the opportunity to serve you. Pick up the phone and ask for help, send an email message or post a request online. People want to help and it’s a great way to find an answer or solution quickly.

You can build a large social network. Your network is an asset that will reap many rewards for you. Be sure to pay it forward.

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