Growing a professional network might seem like a no-brainer for your career, but acting strategically as you build these relationships is a critical part of your long-term success.
“Some people are developing a network for mentoring reasons, some are strictly marketing, other reasons might be client retention, others might be looking to drive additional revenue streams,” said Bryan Glancy, owner of financial planning firm Spinnaker Financial Group, and our guest on this week’s State of Business podcast.
You meet people organically throughout your career, but Glancy suggested that taking a more formal approach could give you better opportunity in the future. He said to consider the types of people you’d like to meet and how you could deliver value to them. It might be making an introduction or sending a white paper or case study.
Begin to keep track of these connections, he said, to ensure you’re making touchpoints regularly.
“Whatever your deliverables are, have some predetermined frequency and be persistent about it,” Glancy said. “You become luckier over time because you set up the right process and you’re implementing it rather than meeting someone one time and thinking something is going to come from that.”
He also said it’s important to look at how you can help each of your connections, instead of immediately looking to gain something from them, which could be a turnoff. Glancy also warned against assuming that having a large network means you’re doing well. If you haven’t established strong relationships, then the number of your connections won’t matter.
Glancy noted that building a professional network will also come with some trial and error throughout your career.
“Relationships take time to develop,” he said. “It’s a process. It takes time and being persistent. And having those realistic expectations and evaluating from not just one point of view is very helpful. At the end of the day it’s helpful how you think about your network, and if you’re making an impact on the people that are in your network.”
Listen to the entire episode to hear more about how developing your network changes depending on your career level, how to turn a network connection to a business opportunity and more.