A few years ago, if I were setting off on a journey to somewhere new or unfamiliar I would have done a few things first: look at a map, calculate how long the journey would take, choose the best route and note down a few alternative ways in case I came across road works or delays.
We now have more modern technologies like Sat Navs which allow us to simply type in the destination and they do the rest. In a matter of minutes they calculate the route, the length of time the journey will take and they can even advise of alternative routes if you hit traffic or take a wrong turn.
The point of this blog isn’t to sell the benefits of Sat Navs to you though, it’s to tell you that we can learn a lot from this technology and apply it to our networking, particularly when we are trying to connect with the right person. In order to get to the people we want, we need to design a route which tells us how to approach the person and at the same time calculate an alternative route in case we come across obstructions, for example an unhelpful receptionist.
What most people do is just hope, on the off chance, that their potential client will just happen to be in the same room as them on the same day. Imagine if you got in your car, turned off your trusty Sat Nav and just drove taking random left and right turns – how long would it take you to do a 100 mile journey? My guess is that, unless you are very lucky, you’d be lost before you know it and before you got to your destination you would have turned round and come back, thus wasting your time and getting nowhere!
Just like when driving to somewhere new, it is very important to plan when networking and not waste your time by being random. If you want an introduction to Sir Alan Sugar you need to think about the route and how you will get there.
Think about what sort of events he may be invited too and who else might be there as well. Also, what companies does he deal with and who do you know that might know him or a company that works with him? Then think of an alternative route in case you do come across some obstructions, think about what his wife does and the route you would take to get in touch with her.
To get the quality referrals that you want you need to create a route to get there. Plan it in advance and stick to and think about it as your map, sorry – Sat Nav, to networking.