deep

Is Your Network a Mile Wide But an Inch Deep?string(45) "Is Your Network a Mile Wide But an Inch Deep?"

Is your personal network deep or shallow? Chances are, it is a bit of both. A shallow network is where all of the people you meet will start, and where far too many of them will remain. In the course of developing your network, you meet and learn a little about lots of people. However, you don’t go much deeper. You don’t know much more than the superficial things about these people — their names, their jobs, and maybe one or two other small facts about them.

A deep network contains the contacts that you know much more about, and who usually know much more about you. The question is, how strong is the deep part of your personal network? It’s great to have a large network, but if it is a mile wide with tons of people in it with no deep relationships (or very few of them), it will never be powerful.  To maximize the relationship, you want to know as much about that person as possible. You want to find out about their family, their hobbies, their interests, etc.

You need both a wide and a deep network

One of the masters of developing a deep network is entrepreneur, author, and speaker Harvey Mackay. It is truly amazing how much information Harvey asks for — and retains — when he decides you are someone he wants to have in his deep network. When I met him for the first time, I remember having a nice conversation. The second time I had a conversation with him, he started up with the following:

  • So, how are your kids?
  • You’ve got three, right?
  • What’s Ashley doing now?
  • What’s Cassie doing now?
  • And how’s Trey doing?
  • Is he about ready to go to college?

I was flabbergasted. How did he remember all that? The more I spoke to him, the more I realized he must have taken notes. As it turns out, that’s exactly what he does. To help him deepen important relationships faster, he takes careful notes about things important to the people who are important to him. Harvey Mackay carefully catalogs that information and adds to it every time he meets with someone, with things such as children’s and pets’ names, your birthday, the anniversary of your business — tons of information.

Harvey Mackay developed a great method that helps him deepen relationships. To be successful at building a powerful personal network, you need to develop a method that works for you. We live in such a sound-byte society. After a simple, “Hi, good to see you again”, so many people jump right into business without getting to know the other person. That’s too bad because one of the things I’ve found is when you get to know somebody, amazing things happen.

The GAINS Exchange

One of the best ways I’ve ever seen for shallow — or casual — business relationships to deepen is through a tool called the GAINS Exchange. Looking back, I remember the first time I introduced the GAINS Exchange into my business. GAINS stands for “Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks, and Skills”. I wrote these five elements on a paper so that two people who meet for the first time — or who had met only briefly and had a shallow relationship — could take turns learning about each other’s GAINS and writing them down.

Build trust with deep connections

Guess what happened? They had known each other casually for a year in a networking group — and had never done business with each other. Within three months of discussing their GAINS, they began passing referrals to each other. This began because they found out they were both soccer coaches, and that made a deeper connection between them that led to trust. If they had continued with their more “shallow” relationship, they may have never passed a single referral. It’s really fun to see two people at a GAINS Exchange that start out learning about each other on a business level by asking each other the following questions:

  • What do you do for a living?
  • Describe what your business is like?
  • What are you looking to do to grow your business?

Then, one of them shares something unique, like an unusual hobby or an unusual place they dream of traveling to see, and conversation just takes off.

If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, it will never be very powerful. You need a strong and stable network that is both wide and deep. Like the supporting roots of a huge oak tree, some of your referral relationships need to go deeper. You create deeper relationships by learning as much as you can about other people. You want to find out details about their family, their interests, and their goals. Get to know them a little bit better to learn what is important to them.

favorite places

Thoughts About My Favorite Places Take Flight Like Birdsstring(56) "Thoughts About My Favorite Places Take Flight Like Birds"

Recently, Beth and I were sitting on our balcony at our Beach Condo in Galveston, Texas talking about where our favorite places are on the planet. Beth pulled out her phone and thought people may like to know where my favorite places are to go in the world. This is a question people do ask us because we travel a lot. On one airline alone, I have flown over 2.3 million miles.

Beth videotaped me answering the question. “Where is my favorite place in the world?”  Below is the video of the conversation I had with Beth.  I think people might find it interesting. Consider this as part of my G.A.I.N.S. exchange as I share my “interests” with you.

The things you enjoy doing and the places you enjoy going can help you connect with others because people are more willing to spend time with those who share their interests. Knowing other people’s interests makes it easier for you to help them in some way. Therefore, let them know your interests as well. If you and your contact share many of the same interests, it will strengthen your relationship. 

Where are my favorite places in the world?

You can watch the video above to learn where my ultimate favorite place in the world is located. You might be surprised by my answer. Here are a few other favorite places on our list:

  • Galveston: Relaxing at our beach condo. Now and then, the local birds take flight, rise up, and soar above our heads.
  • India: We have a lot of members in India and I enjoy visiting with them.
  • Necker Island: We enjoy spending time with Richard Branson on his private island.
  • Paris: We enjoyed the two months we spent in France for our 25th wedding anniversary.
  • South Africa: We did an amazing safari together at Camp Jabulani.
  • Sydney Australia: Beth loves Sydney. It is one of her favorite places, but not her number one place. Can you guess where Beth’s ultimate favorite place is? Listen to the video for her answer.
  • The Great Barrier Reef: We explored it from a small ship.

COVID-19 has changed our travel life. We look forward to the days when we can travel the world again. Visiting these favorite places we mentioned, and also exploring new places we have never been to before. By sharing this video, we know we will receive many invitations to go visit and revisit many places all across the world.

Therefore, I suggest that you add this question about your favorite places when discussing your “interests” as part of your G.A.I.N.S. exchange. Download a copy of the GAINS exchange profile form. People will get to know you better when you share your favorite places in the world during your one-to-one meetings. Please share below in the comments your favorite places in the world too.

G.A.I.N.S. Exchange

The G.A.I.N.S. Exchange Approach to Networkingstring(46) "The G.A.I.N.S. Exchange Approach to Networking"

If you want to be successful in generating referrals, it is crucial to find out as much as you can about the members of your network. And there are five critical things that you must know if you truly want to be a productive networker. These five things are not mysterious secrets; they are facts we are exposed to every day but often pay little attention to because we are not aware of the benefits we can gain by sharing what I call the G.A.I.N.S. Exchange approach to networking. If you know the categories of the G.A.I.N.S. Exchange and use them effectively, you can strengthen your relationships, build a strong business, and live a better life. Of course, the exchange is a two-way street: Not only should you know these things about others, but you should also share the same type of information about yourself with them.

  • Goals
  • Accomplishments
  • Interests
  • Networks
  • Skills

Goals

Goals are the financial, educational, and personal business objectives you want to achieve for yourself and for the people who are important to you. You need to clearly and specifically define your own goals and have a clear picture of the goals of others. 

Accomplishments

Accomplishments tell you more about a person because people like to talk about the things they are proud of. Therefore, engage others in casual conversations to encourage them to talk about their accomplishments. Sharing your accomplishments with them may lead to mutual interests or connections that can be mutually beneficial.  

Interests

The things you enjoy doing can help you connect with others because people are more willing to spend time with those who share their interests. Knowing other people’s interests makes it easier for you to help them in some way. Let them know your interests as well. If you and your contact share many of the same interests, it will strengthen your relationship. 

Networks

Most people have a broad network of individuals they associate with for either business or personal reasons.  The question is, how well you know them? The people you know are connected, directly and indirectly, with people you don’t know. Each of us has sources in abundance that we do not effectively cultivate.

Skills

The more you know about the talents of the people in your network, the better equipped you are to refer to them when someone you know is looking for someone with that skill. Therefore, identify the special skills you have and share your skills with others to help business relationships grow as well.

The best way to develop a strong relationship with others is by helping them to achieve something important to them. Some of your best insight into others comes from knowing what goals they have, what they have already accomplished, and what they are passionate about. Their passions are their most important interests because they are something they love to do and could do all day long. If you can tap the resources represented by their network of contacts, you can significantly improve your overall networking. The more they know about your skills, the faster your name will come to mind when an opportunity arises in which your own networking might play a part.

Volunteering

Visibility through Volunteeringstring(31) "Visibility through Volunteering"

One of the first steps toward networking your business is to become more visible in the community. Remember that people need to know you, like you and trust you in order to refer you. Volunteering can position you to meet key people in your community. It connects you with people who share your passion. Volunteering gives you opportunities to demonstrate your talents, skills, and integrity, as well as your ability to follow up and do what you say you are going to do. It instantly expands the depth and breadth of your network.

Volunteering is not a recreational activity: it’s a serious commitment. Remember that people need to know you. They need to like you, trust you, in order to refer you. Volunteering can actually position you in order for you to meet key people in the community- a connection with people who share your passion. I believe that people who volunteer demonstrate their commitment to a cause without concern for personal gain. Thus, you should be volunteering with organizations which you have genuine interest in and concern about. So to find an organization or a cause that relates with your interests, you need to approach volunteerism with a healthy level of thought and strategy. How do you decide which organization to support?

Here are a few things to think about when you choosing a service organization to volunteer at:

  • What are three organizations that you can identify that appeal to you? Choose the one that most appeals to you and research the group online.
  • Will that group give you the opportunity to meet one of your professional or personal goals? Will you have an opportunity to connect with other people who will be supportive of your business?
  • After visiting the group, do you still want to make a final commitment of your time?
  • Are other group members satisfied with the organization?

It is really important to get to know your referral partners better so that you can pass referrals to them. Ask others during your one-to-one’s a few of these questions about their volunteering activities:

  1. What do you enjoy doing in your spare time, and is there any connection to serving the community?
  2. What hobbies do you enjoy, and do they provide any opportunities for volunteering?
  3. What brings you joy and satisfaction?
  4. What social or health issues are you passionate about?

Volunteering is a great way to get visibility in your community. It’s a great way to build your personal network.  Don’t be a cave dweller. Get out, connect with your community and volunteerism is a great way to do that. I encourage you to do so.

If You’re Only Talking Shop, You’re Selling Yourself Shortstring(70) "If You’re Only Talking Shop, You’re Selling Yourself Short"

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Photo courtesy of stockimages at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

People often think that networking is all about talking business and exchanging cards, but that’s a definite misconception.

In a networking group, you should talk about more than just business. A referral relationship is more than just, “I do business, you do business, let’s do business.” A much better approach is to find common ground on a personal level, then relate your business to it.

The longer I’ve been involved in networking, the more I’ve seen the power of personal interests in making connections. Networking is about building personal relationships. If you remove the personal from the equation, you limit the amount of business that can happen.

In one networking group I worked with, I introduced an exercise called the GAINS Exchange, in which people share personal and professional information about themselves. Two of the participants in this group had known each other for more than a year but had never done business. During the exercise, they discovered they both coached their sons’ soccer teams. They quickly became close friends and were soon helping each other conduct soccer practices. After a few months, they began referring business to each other–two guys who had barely spoken to each other the first year because they seemed to have so little in common.

By finding a common interest and starting with that, we can make connections that have a very good chance of turning into business. Try this strategy out for a while and then come back and leave a comment to let me know what your experiences have been–I’d love to hear about them!

5 Key Things You & Your Referral Partners Must Know about One Anotherstring(74) "5 Key Things You & Your Referral Partners Must Know about One Another"

So often, I see people who are frustrated about not getting more business referred to them. After all, they say, isn’t that what business networking is all about?

What many of these people don’t seem to realize, however, is that they need to actively share information (5 key things, in particular) about themselves with the right people before they can expect to have business referred to them by the people in others’ networks.

The fact is, it’s not enough that you’re great at what you do and can offer a lot of value to new clients. To win referrals from networking, you need to ensure that your contacts have all the necessary information about you and your skills so they can go out and persuade third parties to come and purchase your product or service. It’s amazing how many people fail to recognize this.

There are actually five key things that are essential for the members of your network to know about you before you can expect them to refer business your way. Equally, you need to know these same five things about them so you can reciprocate.

I call this process of reciprocal sharing of information the GAINS exchange, based on the first letter of each of the five essential informational pointsGoals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks, and Skills:

  • Goals: What are the objectives that are important to you; what are the problems you want to solve? Not just financial and business goals, but also personal and educational objectives.
  • Accomplishments: What big projects have you completed in business or as an employee? What are your accomplishments as a student or parent?
  • Interests: What are the things you really enjoy doing? The music you like to listen to, the hobbies you spend time on, the sports you like to play or watch? People are more willing to spend time with people they share interests with.
  • Networks: Each of your contacts is a part of many networks. Do you know what these are, how big they are? Each of us has the potential to connect with hundreds or thousands of people if we cultivate these resources.
  • Skills: What do you do especially well? What are the professional areas in which you excel? Don’t be afraid to share this information with your contacts, and learn about the talents and abilities of the people in your network as well.

These are not mysterious pieces of information. They are facts we are exposed to every day, if we look for them.

By remembering the GAINS exchange, you can make sure you don’t overlook this essential information about your networking contacts.  Is there an additional piece of information you make a habit of giving and getting when it comes to networking relationships?  If so, what is it and how have you found it to be effective?  I’d love to hear your ideas and experiences so please share your feedback in the comment forum below—thanks!

Successful Networkers Build Deep Relationships–Know Your Contactsstring(71) "Successful Networkers Build Deep Relationships–Know Your Contacts"

If your network is a mile wide and an inch deep, the fact is it will simply never be very powerful.  In this video, I talk about why investing the time and effort into really getting to know your contacts and building deep, trusted relationships with them is key to networking success.

Do you know your contacts’ hobbies? Do you know their family members’ names? If your answer is no, this means you’re not delving beneath the surface with your contacts and you’re not building fruitful relationships–you need to get to know your contacts much better.

Watch this short video now to learn how to build deeper, mutually beneficial relationships by using the GAINS Exchange, get relationship-building success strategies used by international sales expert & keynote speaker Harvey Mackay, and more.

Do you have a method or a tactic for getting to know your contacts better which has really seemed to work for you?  If so, please share it in the comment forum below.  I’m always interested in the tactics that networkers around the world have successfully used to achieve networking success and I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Using the G.A.I.N.S. Exchange to Connect More Effectivelystring(57) "Using the G.A.I.N.S. Exchange to Connect More Effectively"

Sometimes one of the most difficult parts of networking is getting the conversation started and really engaging people so they are genuinely interested in talking and networking with you.

In this short video, Penny Georgevich explains how to effectively connect with people by using the G.A.I.N.S. (Goals, Accomplishments, Interests, Networks, Skills) Exchange (also referred to as the G.A.I.N.S. Profile)–particularly when it comes to the are of “Interests.”

If you’ve used the G.A.I.N.S. Exchange as a tactic when networking, please share your experience with it in the comments section–how effective did you find it to be?