Expanding Your Network 15 Minutes at a Time

This year Sue has been using an old-fashioned method to expand her social network. Because she's doing it right, it has not only delivered results but it's been fun.

Any time she comes across the social media profile of someone interesting (from a professional perspective) she spends a little time learning more about them, then invites them to have a 15-minute phone call to get to know each other. She calls them "Getting to Know Each Other" calls. (I'm the writer in the family but since she pays my bills I'll stay out of her business.)

Yes, that's right, it's the old "Can I buy you a cup of coffee?" ploy, ruined by professional networkers a decade ago.

Here's how Sue does it right:

  1. She spent the time to develop a reputation for sincerity and generosity.
  2. She takes the time to get to know something about the other person, even interacting at their blog or other social media accounts, before she raises the idea of chatting on the phone.
  3. When she approaches them, she expresses a specific interest in something they do or offer.
  4. Wait, before that, she actually feels a genuine interest in something they do or offer. That's the whole point: they're professionally interesting.
  5. She uses a simple free tool called Calendly to allow them to schedule their call anytime she's free and which is convenient for them. No phone tag or endless scheduling emails.
  6. During the conversation, she actually listens to them, treats them with dignity and respect, and only shares what Ausoma does as something that might support their business. No sales pitch. Ever. (Did we get that part? That's what killed the "cup of coffee" gag, remember?)
  7. She keeps in touch, and when she finds something of value to them she shares it.

The theme there is generosity. People can tell when you're "having a chat" but it's all about you.

They can also tell, from a mile away, when you're a sincere and generous person who believes that the more you help others, the better your own business and life are.

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