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10 Things to Do to Improve Your Professional Network

Professional Network
June 2019

1. Networking Takes WORK.
The word network says it all – it takes WORK! Someone once said, “The fortune is in the follow-up.” This is now my mantra.

2. Cookie Cutters are for Baking, Not Networking!
I was recently at a management conference for one of my clients and I asked everyone two questions: “What is one thing you wish your company offered to make your job easier?” and “What’s one thing I can do better in our business relationship?” You should have seen their faces.

3. If You Build it, They Will Come.
I started a niche networking group in Chicago more than five years ago to bring together industry professionals monthly and “amp” up their networks. If something doesn’t exist, go create it.

4. Fake it ’Til You Make It.
Not in networking! If you lack authenticity, you can kiss connection opportunities good-bye. Authenticity + Trustworthiness = Bigger Networks!

5. Evaluate Your Title.
I got into a debate one day about a title I once held—Director of Sales. My issue? I told my former employer that they didn’t hire me to sell, they hired me to build relationships. When that is done properly, the sales will come organically.

6. Do You Network with Robots?
Check out my LinkedIn page and not only will you see my favorite peanut butter and my hobbies, you will also learn what makes me tick. When sending an invitation to connect, speak like a human, not a robot!

7. Facts Tell, Stories Sell.
Would you rather test-drive a car or read the owner’s manual? Don’t be afraid to tell relatable stories to engage a peer enough so that they want to network.

8. Stop Saying “I’m Just A…”
You’re not just a leasing consultant or just a manager. You are YOU! When you see the value in yourself, others will see your value too, which deepens your connections.

9. Ever Dissect the Word Apartment?
Ask yourself: What sets you “Apart” and why are you “Meant” for this industry? Answer this about yourself to attract the right people and build your personal brand.

10. When was the Last Time You Were Carded?
At a recent networking event, I brought a thank-you card to everyone I wanted to speak to. This helped me to stand out among other suppliers who did the same old song and dance. Get creative to be memorable.