The more people you know, the more people you know who should know other people you know, yes?
How often do you open your “Contacts” and connect people whose businesses might be a good fit? And are you asking for the introductions you need to grow your business or boost your career?
Lately I’ve been in connection-making mode:
- President of an organization losing its admin, meet a woman who matches organizations with administrative help.
- Friend who’s planning a telesummit on speaking, you need to know this other friend who’s an expert on stage fright.
- Two professionals who serve Orthodox Jewish women in different ways, you might be a resource for each other.
- Readers, here’s some valuable info from a coach who can help you get momentum.
- Alternative health care practitioner, this guy’s an expert you should know.
I’ve been in business long enough (for that matter, I’ve been on the planet long enough) to have a pretty big network. And I try to be awake to clues that someone in it could benefit from meeting someone else.
So I was surprised by something I heard when I met a consultant for coffee. A woman who had, of course, been introduced to me by somebody who thought we’d be a good fit.
And who says men do a much better job of this networking thing than women do.
Trisha Squires is a business-building expert with a long history in the world of the Big 4 accounting firms. Now she’s a consultant to smaller businesses at Empowered Leadership Cultivation, LLC.
Women, she says, do a fine job of connecting with each other; the research shows we actually connect on a deeper level than men do.
“But when it comes to business,” Trisha told me, “they don’t do deals the way men do.”
Women create new businesses at twice the rate men do, but we tend not to grow them nearly like men do. We don’t develop strategic partnerships. In fact, the way Trisha put it was, “Women live in a silo of stress and misery instead of going out into the world and figuring out, ‘how can I connect with the right people to get where I want to be?’”
“We don’t ask for what we need. We don’t say, ‘I need a client and I know you have this client. I want an introduction.’”
Men are not nearly so reticent, according to Trisha. Those connections happen instantly, organically in their environment. Men ask for favors all day long. And it’s considered a positive to ask for – and offer – favors.
Women on the other hand? Trisha says we shake hands and smile, maybe compliment each other. “But we don’t get down to brass tacks the way men do. We tap dance around the issue.”
So, how do we change all that? Here’s Trisha Squires’s advice:
- “Don’t just rely on female based groups for your networking. Go into mixed groups and be the shining woman in that group. It’s better for you.
- Be very strategic about the relationships you’re going to have. And be very direct about how you develop them.
When you meet someone who has exactly the kind of clients you want, or is looking for the same client profile, create a strategic partnership so you make it formal that you’re going to do business together.
- Get a coach who’s business-minded or an accountability partner to keep you from getting in your own way.
- Be exactly who you are and the right people will come to you. That will create abundance. Women think they have to shrink who they are to be accepted in the world. To hell with that.”
As always, I’m curious about your experience, so post a comment. And I’m asking you to try something this week.
If you know two people could benefit from collaborating, help them hook up. And if there’s someone you need to meet, ask for the introduction. Make it count. And let me know what happens next.
Your comment about an accountability partner hit home. I see that as my husband who is my business partner. and we have both helped each other. He is finance oriented and I am people focused. I learned from him that no matter how much I like someone i need to make a business assessment if their service is right for us. It is tough for me but I have learned to say “no”. I taught him that there is more to a successful business than the bottom line. Numbers may look great for a while but if people aren’t happy and leave, those performance stats start dropping like a rock!
Sounds like a match made in heaven, Gale. Or in business school! Finance-people and people-people make great partners, because they balance one another.
And I know your business is growing; that’s pretty good evidence the two of you are on the right track. Congratulations.