Wired: Plug into a Network of People – by Gary Polsky
To be successful, especially in sales, you must form a tight network of connections – I call them Professional Intimate Relationships – that straddle both your professional and personal life. These types of relationships – overflowing with mutual respect and loyalty – will move with you throughout your career, from job to job, stage to stage of your life. Think of it like a communication network – lines of communication stringing you and your closest relationships together, vibrating with the energy of connection. To build this network that will support you and grow with you in your life, you must constantly construct and maintain your network.
Like AT&T’s old adage “Reach Out and Touch Someone” says, the first step to building a solid network is reaching out. If you don’t take the step to extend an offer of friendship you will never get your network started. Cold calling can be an intimidating task, but if you perfect it, you will see your network grow in leaps and bounds. The first key is to set goals. If you do not expect to reach out to “x” number of new people each week, you won’t do it. Write your goals out in annual, quarterly, monthly and weekly form. That way you incorporate your overall vision for success with a task that may not be at the top of your list on a daily basis, but should be. Second, visualize the worst that can happen. I know it sounds counter-intuitive, but by exploring the what-ifs and coming to terms with worst-case scenarios, we alleviate the fear from cold calling. Third, just do it! Make the calls. Reach forward with your positive outlook, connect on a personal level, listen to what the person is saying and offer thoughtful solutions tailored to their unique needs.
Once you have made your first connection, you need to maintain it. Just like the telephone wires that cross this great earth, relationships need attention. You should plan to stay in contact with any cold call client or colleague that you think may have the potential to bloom into a long-term Professional Intimate Relationship. Juggling all these contacts can be an overwhelming prospect, but it is made much easier if you write it all down in a Professional Intimate Relationship Plan. This plan will log basic information about each contact such as name, business, etc. as well as above-and-beyond information such as shared interests, goals, wife/kids’ names. The plan should also include a schedule that logs each contact you have with the potential PIR and when you will contact them again.
As you advance through developing these relationships, you will benefit from the synergy of a strong network. When you progress through cold calling and creating PIR plans, you will notice that some of your clients know each other or could benefit from an introduction. You will benefit from clients introducing you to other potential Professional Intimate Relationship partners. This synergy will propel you forward in developing your network. Your network will continue to grow and thrive without as much work from you. As you look to the future with far-reaching vision, your network will thrust you forward in reaching your goals.
Gary W. Polsky has spent nearly 30 years in the healthcare industry—from managing home infusion sales, to running hospitals, to founding hospice-care companies in four states. This experience has cemented his belief in the importance of strategically building and leveraging mutually beneficial relationships to achieve growth and success. He is the author of Everything but the Sex: 5 Strategies to Create Professional Intimate Relationships. You can connect with Gary through his website apexlifestyledesign.com.
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