Being a Value-Added Friend

ID-100209400Do the people you know consider their relationship with you to be valuable? Are you a “Value-Added Friend?” At first glance, it may seem like a way of allowing friends and connections to “use” you, but in reality it just helps solidify the likelihood of a long term relationship with that individual.

Powerful and successful business people want their networks to be strong, deep, and broad. You want your relationship to help strength, deepen, and expand the networks of others. So how do you do this? How do you become a Value-Added Friend?

Get to know the people who make up your referral team. You want to do more than scratch the surface – you want to really know these people, and you want them to feel like they know you as well. Be aware of how they react to you, and don’t ask them too personal or invasive questions. Understand their goals – learn how you can help them. Once you help someone achieve a goal, you become a Value-Added Friend.

So, how? How do we deepen relationships and become a Value-Added Friend?

  1. Build quality relationships. Relationships are a time commitment, but a worthwhile one. Go beyond the standard business interactions to truly deepen your relationships and get to know your marketing team. The stronger your friendship, the more you can expect from each other’s networking efforts.
  2. Do more than just show up. Seriously. You need to establish credibility and trust with the people at these events or meetings, so just showing up isn’t going to cut it. Refer to Number 1 above.
  3. Do not ask what they can do for you, but what you can do for them. This is perhaps the most powerful way to deepen and widening networks. Do not underestimate the power of helping other people.

 

So what are you doing to become a Value-Added Friend?

How social is your social network?

relationshipsIn my video blog two weeks ago, The Six Degree Myth and the 29 Percent Solution, I discussed the inspiration for the book that I co-wrote with Michelle Donovan, The 29% Solution. After watching the vlog, one reader brought up an interesting point, and I would love to discuss it further.

Social media changes the game of networking, but not really how you might think. A common social networking misconception is that the number of people that you are connected with online is directly related to the number of people that you truly have a connection with in your day to day life. When widely known networking theories are applied to social media, results can vary.

This is because studies relating to social media connectivity, in this case referring to a study done by Facebook in 2011 which attempts to recreate Stanley Milgram’s Six Degrees of Separation experiment via Facebook, have one fundamental flaw.

These studies assume, and rely on the possibility, that a connection on Facebook is the same to an actual, real life relationship. I have 5,000 connections on my Facebook page. This doesn’t mean that I have 5,000 people that I know well enough to ask for a favor, or that they would actually do it for me if I asked. Facebook has essentially redefined what a “friend” is so that any contact on a profile is considered a legitimate, personal relationships. According to the Dunbar Study, the true number of contacts that one person can have meaningful relationships with is around 150, and naturally this varies from person to person.

That being said, with social media, and in our day-to-day lives as well, it is not the number of links, but the quality of links that makes a difference in our networking attempts. The purpose of The 29% Solution was to explain what things I thought anyone could do to be part of the percentage of people with close, meaningful connections.

What do you think? How has social media changed how you connect with others? Share with me in the comments section below.

The Six Degree Myth and the 29 Percent Solution

So often in networking, people reference the Six Degrees of Separation theory, claiming that anyone they wish to get in contact is only six people away.

What many fail to realize, however, is that this theory is a complete myth. Networking doesn’t just happen, and relying on your network to bring you to your ideal client without having to work for it won’t help you succeed. The story of the Six Degrees of Separation theory also leaves out one key element of the actual study. Only 29 percent of the participants in the study were able to connect themselves back to the target in six steps. 71 percent were unable to do it.

This is the basis for my book, The 29 Percent Solution, co-written by myself and Michelle Donovan. After watching this video blog, I encourage you to check out the book to learn a couple of key strategies to really expand upon your network.

What strategies do you use to grow your network? Do you find that the myth of the Six Degrees of Separation actually holds true for you? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.

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