The motto “it’s not what you know, but who you know” has been drilled into most of us since we were teens and young adults beginning to prepare for careers. But Jack Cotton, luxury expert and author, pushes us to think even further and suggests maybe it’s not even who we know but how well we know them.
I hear you asking, how will I meet those people that I need to know? Occasionally, you are in the right place at the right time, but key influential people don’t typically just fall into our laps. By deliberately and strategically putting in effort to network, you can build your community and outreach, and in turn, build your career and life.
Four Types of Networking
Jack Cotton suggests networking can be easily understood and broken down into four different levels of intensity.
Casual Contact – This level includes networking at events such as mixers, Chamber of Commerce events, or public functions that you can attend.
Knowledge networking – Bringing people of the same company or occupation together, such as a company or Realtor events.
Strong networking – Including networking at high-end charity functions or private clubs and gatherings.
Online networking – Social media, email newsletters, and online groups and support.
Regardless of the levels, successful networkers typically average about 6.5 hours of networking per week while weak networkers average under two hours.
Why Networking is Key
Networking and meeting people within your industry or even within other occupations, can not only build your knowledge about your career and business but it gives you opportunities to grow and engage in your career and personal life.
When you network with someone, it is a give and take relationship, but the giving part is the number one priority. If you have something of value to offer someone, whether it be advice, knowledge, a future connection, etc., and they also have something to give back in return to you, you both can benefit from connecting and networking. Your main intentions should not be to get something out of the connection, but to be of value to someone you meet. They are more likely to return the favor in the form of a referral or another new connection that could propel you to more people and more opportunities.
The Institute of Luxury Home Marketing, which consists of expert training and resources for luxury real estate professionals, has networking wired into their courses and gives their clients numbers of opportunities to connect with other real estate professionals.
They make key luxury events accessible to their agents and industry people because ILHM understands that networking is a key to their clients and customers success. They also have rosters of their members and trainers available to all Institute members, so connecting with classmates and other professionals is easy. They even cover their online bases with real estate agent websites and federations that you gain free access to after becoming a member.
In the real estate business and a lot of other people-oriented careers, your referrals and professional contacts are crucial in building your networks, gaining new clients, and becoming a successful agent.
Relationships Equal Success
Like with finding a good doctor, business partner, or mentor, relationships and personal connections truly are the most important factor.
People that trust your work and skill set are much more likely to recommend you to someone else, professional or client. By taking time to go to events and reaching out to connections through social media and your email list, you are building relationships that could be extremely helpful and crucial in taking the next step in your job or even leading you to a completely new opportunity.
By keeping a “givers gain” mindset and being open and honest in your connections, other people will want to help you, in return for helping them. All of these interactions and seemly small but important moments will help complete the bigger picture of your success.