To boost network, make interactions with others a value to them

By David Alexander, as published in the Atlanta Business Chronicle on April 14, 2014

david_plaidHow do you create value for your clients?

In my humble opinion, it is incredibly simple.  Simply make your interactions with others valuable… to them!  I try to make a point to create value whenever I interact with another person.

It’s a key to networking!  Here’s a simple question that you can ask yourself and keep it top of mind.   What can I do to add value to this person I’m interacting with today, right now or even in the future? 

I’m sure you will agree that these days less is more.  If you are like me, you probably feel a bit overwhelmed with life sometimes.  I believe that we tend to overcomplicate things.  Let’s spend a few minutes discussing a few simple rules for successful networking.

First is to be happy, simple yet profound.  I am a triathlete.   An acquaintance of mine who had a $10,000 bike came to training one day on a $500 bike.  Naturally, the assumption was his bike was in the shop.  Reality was he had just lost everything: his business, his house, his possessions.  However, his comment was, “It’s no big deal, I still have my network.”

WOW!  To be happy is a choice that we make every second of the day.  This is a choice we make on every phone call, every interaction and at every event we attend.  Be positive!  Have fun! Let it show!  I believe having a positive attitude could possibly be the biggest key for productive networking.  So sing along with me: if you’re happy and you know it, raise your hand!  Don’t be a fun sucker, you know that person you run into that sucks the life right out of the room.  They share all their depressing news with everyone who will listen.  If you can’t think of anyone that fits that description, it might be you.

Second, have the discipline to follow through with what you say you are going to do.  If you tell someone you are going to do something, do it.  If you commit to follow up, do it.  This point was really driven home for me recently.

My training company, High Achievers, does weekly boot camps called “muddervation.”  My little boy asked to go with me to one.  We were doing a four-mile run.  At mile one he cramped up, so we stopped at a restaurant to take a break.  When we walked out, I suggested that we turn around and head back to the gym.  He looked at me and said, “No way, I’m never going to give up.”

He had the discipline to run through the pain and achieve his goal.  AMAZING!  Challenge yourself to follow through!

Third, give more.  For the first time in my life, I set a goal of raising money for charitable causes this year and another goal for volunteering.  This was new for me.

The ripples have been surprising.  I am constantly looking for opportunities to give.  I recently sponsored an event primarily because all the proceeds go to charities, one of which I chose.  So the simple fact that I have set goals to give more allows me to benefit in positive ways that are unexpected.

As you become known as a giver in your community, your personal brand will really shine.

Fourth, live life expecting less.  I’m not saying to have low expectations, but what I am saying is be happy with who and what you are.  The confidence that you will outwardly convey will resonate with your network of friends, family and customers.  Over the last couple of years, I have made this transition of being happy with what I have and the results show.  It is not material things that make you successful; it is people that make it happen.  I believe your network is way more important than your net worth.

Want to stand out from the crowd and increase your refer-abilty?  Applying these four simple rules to your networking activities will have a profound impact on your success:

  1. Be happy, don’t be a fun sucker
  2. Have the discipline to follow through
  3. Give more
  4. Expect Less

One of the keys to success is looking at life as a “giver’s game.”  Why do givers win more?  It’s simple, because they help others win more.  We can all take that point home.  It’s a big concept to grasp if you want to grow your business, have fun, work less and be extremely referable.