Those of us who own businesses tend to spend a lot of our networking time seeking out new leads and potential clients. I can hear you now, “Isn’t that the purpose of networking?” Absolutely. However, if you are only seeking out new clients at these functions you are missing out on the valuable opportunity of building your list of power partners. What is a power partner, you ask? This article has a great definition and some examples of what makes a power partner. Basically, this type of partnership involves small business owners that share your same goals, have a similar target audience, would not be considered competition, and that you can trust.
An important part of building your tribe includes beefing up your list of power partners. This sort of professional relationships is quite symbiotic and allows both parties to benefit and support one another without stepping on each other’s “turf.”
While building a professional tribe may seem daunting and will require some practice, courage, and risk, once the relationship with your tribe has been established, it can be satisfying and mutually beneficial. So how do you start?
No, this does not mean that you have to share every personal thing going on in your life. This means that you need to show that you are just as human – even the flaws and accomplishments – as the next person. Don’t use jargon and big words in your communications just because you can – you aren’t trying to impress, you are trying to build a tribe built on trust and common goals. Answer emails and texts as soon as you are able – even if it’s just to say “I got your message and I will get back to you.”
Just be you. This blatant authenticity will allow others to feel more comfortable around you and develop trust that will result in growing a tribe of Power Partners. Yes, there will be those who reject who you are but no one needs that kind of negative energy within their tribe anyway. By allowing yourself to be open and vulnerable, the right people will be more drawn to your energy and will want to get to know you better.
Know Your Limitations
When the value of your time is taken into consideration, size does matter. Studies show that most people can efficiently maintain up to 15 close relationships – this includes both personal and professional. Determine the relationships you value most and build those. Making your professional tribe too large can lead to less attention being paid to important details needed to maintain the mutually beneficial relationship. The synergy developed by a tribe allows them to create something bigger and stronger than anything that could be created individually.
Share Your Human Capital
The biggest way to build trust is to give more than you expect – this can be done by offering your unique skills to those within your tribe, helping others build their own connections that will benefit both parties, or just being a receptive ear when it is needed. This help will not always be free, but it will earn the trust and respect from the members in your tribe. Sharing your experiences and wisdom gained shows others that you are willing to put yourself out there to support them with what you have learned. Share the human capital you have gained to help others. In return your tribe will step up to help you in times of need.
The need for recognition is just as large a part of human nature as wanting to belong to a tribe of like-minded people. Giving credit where credit is due may seem like a small thing, but it can build confidence and comfort. Creating an environment where your tribe members feel comfortable being themselves while also creating an environment of trust and support.
Share the Wealth
In addition to boosting confidence, it is important to keep in mind ways that making new connections is a priority for people when networking. Assisting those within your tribe with desirable referrals that will be mutually beneficial can lead to good things for all parties. Create these relationships not for your benefit, but because you know it will benefit the parties involved. The goodwill that you are creating will make your tribe stronger.
Social Media Features
Social media is a good tool to build the bridges vital for business success and can yield some unexpected tribe members. Featuring your power partners in your social media on a regular basis is a great way to support them and showcase their value to you. With any luck, they will reciprocate and share your information with their target audience as well. This is just one example (a very important one) of how creating authentic partnerships is healthy for everyone involved.
Building these authentic partnerships from your tribe may not be easy, and will definitely require a willingness to give more than you expect to receive. However, building a strong tribe and working on meaningful connections through social media and in person will bring out the best in both you and your tribe. Plus, you will stand out as a shining example of how to #BeAwesome while networking and growing your professional community.
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Hollie Clere of The Social Media Advisor is a “#BeAwesome” Developer, Social Media, Brand Builder, Content Manager, Trainer and Author in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Blog, Google+,YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram and the tools to manage them.
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