When networking comes full circle
People tend to either love networking or hate it. I remember when I first moved to Phoenix and a VERY connected woman I met asked me, “Do you know So-and-So? How about this other So-and-So? What about the So-and-So from that important organization?” I didn’t know any of them – and what’s more, I was flummoxed at the expectation that I should know them. How does one get to know such people? I remember thinking.
One gets to know such people through networking.
As we’ve established, I didn’t know anyone when I first started my business. So I networked my little butt off. For my first year or so in business, I had two, maybe three clients. So I kept networking. And between finding my own clients, I spent a lot of time connecting the other people I was meeting to each other. I’d go to an event and meet a tax attorney. Then I’d go somewhere else and meet someone who mentioned in conversation that they were looking for a tax attorney. So I’d connect the two. There’s actually an art to doing this that I’ll discuss in a later post, but the general gist was that I put a lot of people together. It’s easy to do when you listen well. And when you don’t ask for anything in return, it creates a ton of goodwill.
Eventually the leads started coming in for my business – and it began growing. That was 10 years ago, and some of the seeds I sowed all those years ago are still paying off in referrals today.
One of the first people I met through my slowly burgeoning network was my friend Connie, an impressive international sales trainer. Connie works on the self-sabotaging mindset that keeps people from prospecting and self-promoting. And she, herself, is fearless.
Last week, we attended a local meeting of the American Business Women’s Association (ABWA), and Connie shared a success story that contains a great tip for almost any business owner, including you – my dear Marcie Brock readers. A few years ago, I introduced Connie to a website called Help a Reporter (HARO). Have you ever wondered where news sources like The New York Times, NBC, USA Today, or national radio broadcasts find the people they interview for their stories? Often, they use a site like Help a Reporter.
Through this site, you can register to become either a “source” or a “reporter.” As a source, you plug in your areas of interest and you sign up to receive daily e-mail alerts with news queries on those subjects. As a reporter, you can submit a request to find a source on almost any topic under the sun. And, the “reporter” status is loosely enough defined that you can register as an author, a blogger, or simply as someone conducting research in a given area. (There are a few caveats – please see the comment below.)
Best of all – there is no charge for the service. That’s right – it’s completely free. Each e-mail begins with an ad – and these notices go out to tens of thousands of sources daily, so the ads really pay off for the advertisers. This site gives you the chance to become a source for major organizations like The Wall Street Journal as well as smaller venues like our very own Marcie Brock’s blog. So chances are that if you’ve written a book, you’ve got some specialized knowledge – and a stroll over to Help a Reporter could prove extremely beneficial to you.
It sure proved beneficial to Connie. She answered a HARO query a few months back from a CNN reporter and was quoted in the reporter’s story. Then Connie followed up with the reporter, asking if she might be interested in a column Connie had written on the same subject as the initial query. The reporter said, “Sure!” I edited the column, Connie emailed it to her, and the reporter used parts of it in another story. Connie then followed up again, asking the reporter if she knew of any organizations looking for speakers on this same topic. Guess what – Connie has booked speaking gigs in Dallas and San Diego as a direct result of this follow-up call, and three more cities are pending!
Morals of the story
I met Connie almost a decade ago through networking. She’s become a great friend and a valued client. I shared with Connie the useful information about signing up for HARO, and she jumped on it. She’s landed at least a half-dozen opportunities from it – but this latest one was huge. And Connie brought it full circle by sharing her success at our ABWA group. She gave me credit for introducing her to HARO, but she created her own goodwill by passing the info along to the other members.
I’m guessing you can do the same in your own spheres of influence.
Here’s to great networking, maximizing leads, and marketing your book!
We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.
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