Networking is the name of the game no matter what industry you're in. Mark Cuban once said it doesn't matter what you "create or build if you can't sell it." - That's absolutely true. If you can't sell yourself, then you will abundantly fail at whatever it is you're trying to accomplish.
A major part of selling is the creating a valuable network. This past year in my professional life I've experienced the power of my own network. I've sold within my network, I've been mentored from multiple people within my network, and I've even been held accountable from people in my network. The old saying "it's not what you know, it's who you know." has a ton of truth to it. Anyone in business can attest to that.
So without further-ado I'd like to introduce my first guest blogger since I've done the new redesign of James Harper Media. Meet R. Gabriel Shih. Gabe is a networking master who has had the opportunity to network with multi-millionaires, multiple CEO's and more than anything, just down right successful people who themselves are masters at networking. Gabe was nice enough to guest blog and share some tips on the most powerful trends he's seen that actually work when trying to build a valuable network.
How to Network Like a Millionaire - By: R. Gabriel Shih
One of the best things that ever happened to me was the day that one of my friends taught me how to network the way powerful and rich people do.
I used to think I knew all there was to know about networking: ‘know your elevator pitch’, ‘dress professionally’, ‘give value before you get value’, ‘research the event beforehand to see who will be there’, ‘know what value you can offer the person you want to meet’. I was no stranger to networking events. You had to get out there, shakes hands and talk to a hundred people before you get a lead.
I had no clue that networking could be done any other way. Nor did I have any idea how much this new type of networking was going to change my life: I’ve been to movie premieres, Hollywood parties, made friends with some of the most successful people in the country, been to fashion shows, eaten at some of the most exclusive country clubs.
Most important of all, I got to meet some amazing and wonderful people.
Did it give me more clients? Not directly, no. That’s not how it works. But it did bring my business and personal life to levels that I never would have thought was possible.
Networking how the rich and powerful do it is very complex and, like anything worth learning, it takes a long time to learn it. There are no shortcuts. I've taught others how to do it and it takes months to grasp the basics enough to even start the journey. But the results were just as amazing for them as it was for me. I've seen people who were introverted and shy dine with one of the most powerful families in America. I've seen socially awkward people make friends with successful entrepreneurs and investors. I've even seen some people find love because of it.
Networking like the wealthy isn't something that can be taught in an article or a guide. It's sad that, for most of us, our whole training on networking is what our career counselor in college taught us. Or what we read in books.
I've been networking like the wealthy for over a decade, I'm friends with individuals that most people try for years to talk to, I've been to some of the most exclusive places and been on lists that most people will never be on, and I still don't consider myself a master.
Even though I can't completely teach you how to network like the rich and powerful in a single article, I can give you some tips on how to take your networking to the next level.
Know the difference between networking and sales
For most people, networking is going to events, dressing professionally, researching the event beforehand so you can plan out who you want to meet, knowing your elevator pitch and knowing what value you can give to your customers. This is sales. Traditional networking is sales.
Networking like the wealthy, however, is different: you don't dress professionally, you don't go to networking events and you don't target people. Instead, you talk to everyone (from your waiter to a CEO), you don't talk business for the first 6 months to a year, you don't dress up and you make friends with everyone.
To put it simply, the secret to how multimillionaires and people with power of a network is that they have a highly powerful and systematic ways of making deep friendships and then turning those friendships into business opportunities later down the road. This is why so many multimillionaires do business on a golf course or in country clubs: because that’s where their friends are.
Networking like the wealthy doesn't replace traditional networking
You should be using both for different reasons and in different places. Just think of it as another tool in your toolbox. Traditional networking gets you small results in the short term. Networking like the wealthy gets you amazing opportunities that you wouldn't have otherwise but it takes years to cultivate. You should be using traditional networking at networking events. You should network like the wealthy everywhere else. A friend of mine likes to talk to people wherever we go. At restaurants, in stores, at Starbucks. I think, if they knew that they were talking to one of the most wealthy and powerful men in the country, they’d probably faint.
Network with everyone
Multimillionaires make friends with everyone. For traditional networkers there are “gatekeepers” and there are people that you want to meet. The job of the gatekeeper is to keep you from the person you want to meet (i.e. your target).
However, for multimillionaires and the powerful, there are no gatekeepers. They are all “targets”. In the multimillionaire world there are the rich (those with money), the influencers (those without money but who have a lot of influence, aka “the powerful”) and the “names” (people who are famous, and who most people believe have the most power, but in actuality are really mid-level). Traditional networkers typically have a goal of making friends with the influencers (who they think of as gatekeepers) in order to get to their target (typically the rich or “names”) after which, they think they won't need the gatekeepers anymore. This is a mistake.
Always make and STAY friends with the influencers. They are just as powerful as the rest. Word will spread on how you treat them. I knew of one woman who used to run around the same crowds as I did. She was friends with a lot of wealthy and powerful people. This woman was introduced to a friend of ours who was an aesthetician (the person at a spa that does facials). Because our friend, the aesthetician, didn't have money this woman assumed that she didn't' have power and dismissed her as “not relevant to her goals”. Word spread and in a few months this lady had been blacklisted from all the country clubs. No one would take her calls anymore and her business went into ruin. Multimillionaires know that everyone is important. They’re great with people and it’s this skill of being able to make friends with anyone that got them where they are.
Focus on friendship
This is how the rich and the powerful network. They don't focus on business. They don't talk about business. They care only about making friends. They don't care who you are, how much you have, or what your title is. They only care if you guys have something in common. Once a strong friendship is formed it's only natural that people want to help each other’s businesses or go into business with each other. You know how I first made all my powerful contacts in Hollywood? There was a guy who would regularly come into the business I was consulting for. For months we talked about science. After a while we wanted to hang out with each other. We talked about philosophy, quantum physics, ancient history, art. I became very close friends with him and his wife. One day he asked me what I did and I told him how I was from the corporate marketing world. I told him I wasn't sure if I wanted to stay. I found out that he had worked on some very big movies and shows: American Beauty, Galaxy Quest. He would later work on True Blood and Mad Men. He introduced me to some of the most powerful people in Hollywood. I ended up helping him with financial advice (I was also the one who convinced him to take the job with True Blood when it was still a concept).
There is a technique to how the rich and powerful make and grow strong friendships. It's too detailed and long to get into, but if you just focus on making friends and put aside business you’ll at least be on your way.
Last but not least, I want to address a myth about the rich and powerful. A lot of people believe in order to network or socialize or even be friends with these people you have to already be rich or famous or come from a powerful family. They think the world of the rich and powerful is an exclusive club that you have to be born into or have enough money to buy your way into. That’s simply not true and it’s a self-defeating thought.
The world of the rich and powerful isn't an exclusive club, it's a culture. Entry into that world means knowing how to act and behave. The problem is that most people don't know how to act because the only wealthy people they've ever seen has been in tv and movies. And Hollywood loves to villainize these people and cast them as snobby, racist and greedy.
These people aren't racist. Many of them have traveled extensively and love other cultures and people. Most of them have multicultural and multi-racial families. They aren't greedy. Many of them take charity work seriously and devote not only their money but their time, blood and sweat to make a difference in those less fortunate. And they are definitely not snobs. It’s very important to separate truth from fiction.
So, I'm going to end this article with some advice on how you can start to be a part of this culture. It's won't guarantee you entry, but it will open the door. It worked for me and I've seen it work for others. Heck, I've even taught other how to successfully do it.
Simply: be genuine, make friends with everyone, forget about business and don't discriminate or judge others.
Have any questions? Want to know when I post more? Is there something you would like me to cover? Reach out to me. My personal email is firstname.lastname@example.org. Tell me a bit about yourself as well. I love meeting new people.
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