Reach Outside of Your Network

I was once privileged to work for a very wise man named Royce Renfroe who constantly repeated “If we always do what we’ve always done we will always get what we always got.” Frankly, as a sales rep. low on the totem pole in his organization the phrase was annoying and probably overused to the point of losing effectiveness. As my business grew and I was promoted to Sales Management, I really understood just how profoundly this simple thought was to growing your sales.

Fast forward many years to last Sunday evening when I was miraculously close to caught up on my work and browsing through LinkedIn, checking out my connections’ networks – something I know I should do more often. When I take the time to do this I often find people I should already have in my network and it gives me a chance to connect. Sometimes I find that 2 of my connections know each other already and I smile at how small the world actually is. Too often I discover a fundamental mistake within a connection’s network: the obvious list of everyone within their company and industry and very few from outside of it.

Part of networking is of course staying in touch with the people you already know, and Social Media is the perfect platform for this. Continually adding to your network is the other part, and without it your business will become stagnate and whither. This is the deal: if you aren’t regularly reaching outside of your industry and outside of your network you are missing out on:

1. The ability to be introduced to new connections through those you already have.
2. The chance to “get to know” new connections on a different level before you try to work with them.
3. The possiblity of landing in a new industry if god forbid you join the millions who are out of work.
4. Loads and loads of work.

The entire point of networking and growing is to step outside of your comfort zone… to find new friends, new contacts, and new opportunities. This is why “networking groups” abound in the “real world.” When you first started your business you probably spent some time at mixers and Chamber events – you should be mimicking those behaviors online. GET INVOLVED in discussions, look out for those you’d like to be “introduced” to and ask for the connection from someone in your network, and keep bringing in new connections. If you use Social Media in this manner you will grow your network AND your business

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