Is Your Network Too Introspective?

I frequently write about building a close network of people around you who have access to the sort of people you want as clients. However, is your network too introspective? It could be too limiting ...

Here's the extreme to make that point. If everyone you know only knows the same people that you know, then they can only introduce you to people you already know. So where's the new business to come from?

"Here are some tips on how to diversify your network!"

Talk yourself into it. If talking to strangers is hard then you're going to have to make an effort to do it. So what will motivate you? Some possibilities spring to mind:

- You want to sell more of your product and services
- You want to be more valuable to others
- Gain new interests
- Learn something new
- Enlighten new people
- Give more
- Become more interesting yourself
- Are you willing to face your prejudices/fears?

How limited is your network? Try this little exercise to find out. List everyone you talk to in the last month. Go through your diary, emails, messages and any other channel you can think of. What sort of people do you spend most of your time with? Check against this list:

- Gender
- Age
- Ethnicity
- Faith
- Style (trendy, loud, reserved etc)
- Marital status/sexual orientation
- Children
- Education
- Profession/work
- Location - personal
- Location - business
- Hobbies/interests

Who is introducing you to useful contacts and potential clients? Where are your biases? What sort of people do you spend most of your time with, who do you rarely/never mix with? What might happen if you did?

Grow out of your network. If you're very shy, reserved or introspective, the chances are you're still reluctant to mix with different people so dip your toe in the water rather than dive in the deep end.

Get the people you already know to introduce you. Who do you know who mixes with different people to you? A lynchpin who can introduce you to people you would never normally meet. Maybe they have a very different client group or they are a lot younger or older than you. Maybe they have a hobby you've never explored or go to a pub you've never visited?

If you're anything like me, you get loads of invitations to events that you mostly don't accept. Why not go to one you would normally turn down? Take a friend and you can always leave if it's too horrendous when you get there.

Last week, I talked about attending events populated by people who are like you. Well, next time spend a few minutes finding out about someone at one of these events that you usually would ignore!"

I'll leave the last word to Dr. Ivan Misner who inspired this blog post: ''Find others who do not sound like you, speak like you, or have your background, education, or history. The only thing that they should have in common with you and the other people in your network is that they should be really good at what they do. Create a personal network like that and you'll have a network that can help you succeed at anything..''

If you'd like to learn more about referral marketing then do give me a call on 07970 638857 and let's have a chat and see how I can help you.