Monday, November 27, 2006

The Hardest Part of Creating a Relationship Network

A few weeks ago I sent a copy of Thom Singer's book, "Some Assembly Required: How to Make, Grow and Keep Your Business Relationships" to a close friend. Today my friend wrote me a short note stating that he'd taken Thom's free quiz, the Networking Quotient, designed to help a person learn about their individual social networking skills for business and how their skills compare with those of peers in several demographics. My friend scored in the 4.o percentile (of 100). Ooops! The dilemma for this person that I know got me thinking about what is the hardest part of getting from 4% to 70%, or even 80% and above.

The short answer -- show up.

Let me explain. In just the county I live in (Orange County, CA) there must be tens of thousands of people engaged as company executives, up-and-comers, career advancers, business development professionals, etc.

Of those tens of thousands, less than 5% are actively involved in relationship development activities outside of what specifically involves their current position or clients.

For example: Locally there is an association of venture capitalists and early stage entrepreneurs that conducts monthly meetings. Each meeting draws about 100-200 attendees. In a marketplace with (probably) 3,000-5,000 individuals that could benefit from attending, the meetings draws 100-200. At least 50% of the attendees at each meeting are repeat attendees. So... in a marketplace of thousands there are less than 100 that have made themselves available for creating an extended network of relationships.

My simple math says that in order to jump from 4% to 70%-80% (and probably higher) all a business person needs to do is show up at business events. Even if your relationship development skills are rough, or you're scared to death, just showing up is a HUGE leap. You are ahead of most of your peers already! Unless you're drooling in a corner muttering to yourself you are bound to make at least one connection. Show up six times and you've made six connections.

A simple goal to achieve a wondrous benefit. Just show up and you are ahead of most....