So far we have looked at the components of a good ask and for what to ask. If you’ve got those things down, it’s now time to figure out who to ask. This is where it gets kind of fun. The reality is, there are very few people you shouldn’t be asking, or at least telling. Here’s why:
It has been said that each person is the center of influence for about 250 people. While I agree that number may sound high to some of you, think about ALL of the people you know and have interacted with in your life:
Bankers, store clerks, wait staff and the list goes on…
Obviously you are not going to have outstanding relationships with everyone of these people, but I bet you have good relationships with people in each of these groups. This is relevant because it shows you who out of your “network” you can ask. Hopefully you noticed that these people really aren’t outside of your network at all.
Whats really cool about it is since we are all networking together, these people are now a part of all of our networks.
There are two reasons that asking multiple people is of benefit. The first one will be covered greatly in the next piece. The second one is You don’t know who someone else knows. The person could be connected to exactly the person you need to meet. You need to ask to find out whether or not the people you know can connect you to the people you want to know through the people they know. Yeah, go ahead and read that again.
Its important to help the people whose help you are seeking. My favorite networking question of all time comes from bob burg. It is How would I recognize if someone i am speaking to is a good referral for you? Ask that. Ask that often. Its a great conversation starter. When someone is asked that, they generally want to return the favor.
The other types of folks you want to ask are those who you believe would be connected to whom you seek. If you are looking to meet a specific decision maker, find out who else sells to them. If they have an assistant, get to know them. Use tools like Linkedin to find out about their hobbies or other things that may be of interest to them. It’s funny how relationship building and stalking can be so closely related. Evidently, I need to work on my definition of funny.
We live in a world that has six degrees of connectedness. You should be able to contact anyone in this country within four calls. Don’t get me wrong, you certainly need to make the first call count, but it can be done.
If you ever want to know who to call first, feel free to reach out to me (we won’t even count that call).