The upside in saying “Hello”.
People do not realise the value that lies within their own personal networks, and the personal networks of those that they are close to. The number of business opportunities that I have been able to create simply by talking about my ideas and ventures to people within my own networks, is astounding. Probably close to around 80% of our total business has come this way. And while we tend to be quite well connected to people already in the business or creative arena, this is possible for anyone. Let me prove it.
Today I got chatting to a few guys while in the library at University. They where talking about an Instagram account that they run, growth strategies, and how they managed to grow their account to its current size. This of course caught my ear, so I introduced myself and started to chime in. After a while they started asking about our business (Made & Bound), and how we have been going. One of the guys started to mention how he has been looking to start something similar, using his experience in creating editorials for fashion and lifestyle brands to form a full service agency — just like us.
This individual has a strength in growing a digital audience that we can utilise, while we have a structure and client base that he can begin to create content and build a large following for. That is the value exchange right there.
Here’s the point behind all of this: If I hadn’t have said, “Hello, my name is Dylan. I Couldn’t help but overhear you talking about growing a digital audience…” (And no, I wasn’t actually this formal when I did it) then I would not have found the potential to bring this guy onboard.
The reason this is important is because far too many people between the ages of 15 and 24 do not see the potential in either having a solid personal network that they can leverage, or even in networking at all. A 5 minute conversation can create so much upside for you and your project/venture, but so many people are missing out.
Is it because we aren’t taught to network in high school or University?
Is it because most people are introverted to some degree?
Is it because young people don’t know how to build a network?
Or is it because founders never want to share there ideas, because it is ‘Too great and someone might steal it’?
Most likely its all of the above, to some degree.
Who knows what it is truely because of. But the main point is that this networking needs to happen more. It always seems a very small group of young people creating contacts by tapping into their peers networks. If you think about how ‘social’ our generation is supposed to be, very few seem to be using it to their advantage.
Here are 5 steps to making the connections that you create really work.
- Get the person that gave you the contact point to introduce you. Whether its face-to-face, over email or even over Linkedin.
- Your first actual contact with them should be a brief description of who you are and what you do. Give them the most basic rundown of what you are looking to do for them, and then comes the most important part — set a time to meet face-to-face (If you aren’t doing so already).
- Before you meet them face-to-face, prepare EXACTLY what you want to do for them and what you are proposing. Don’t go to the meeting with a ‘wishy-washy’, unstructured idea or plan. Keep things high-level and concept orientated for now, and don’t be afraid to show them any previous work that you have created or a rundown of your product.
- Follow up email. This is something that I do every time I meet someone that could provide value — without fail. Essentially just thank them for meeting with you, and talk briefly about actionable steps moving forward. Be quite strategic with when you send this — If your meeting was at 4pm, best to wait till the next morning to send it. If you meeting was in the morning, then try and hit their inbox towards the end of most people’s lunch break (1:40pm). They will most likely be very busy people, so you to get it on the top of their inbox.
- Prepare to begin to put things into place for moving forward. Follow up on the actionable steps that you mentioned in the thank you email, and look to set up a second meeting to move forward. The point of the second meeting is to go into more detail, and start to move them towards the giving you the ‘Green Light’.
If you push too hard through email or phone, communications become difficult, unclear and annoying — which effects your initial relationship. Keep as much of your initial interaction in person as possible.
Get out there. Say “Hello”. Make the necessary connections to grow your business.