Which House Are You on the Block? Maximizing Your Networking Real Estate

Which House Are You on the Block? Maximizing Your Networking Real Estate

Which House Are You on the Block? Maximizing Your Networking Real Estate by Cynthia Greenawalt

{3:24 minutes to read} I was speaking in front of a group of entrepreneurs recently. I used a powerful analogy, asking them to imagine a beautiful neighborhood north of New York City with a block of 10 homes varying in price from 2 million to 10 million dollars.

Then I asked which is the better real estate investment: owning the 2 million or the 10 million dollar home? The most popular response was the 2 million dollar home for the following reason: the value is brought up by the higher priced homes on the block, whereas the 10 million dollar home has its value brought down by its neighbors.

When we finished with that analogy, I asked them to do a quick self-assessment: “Raise your hand if you are in the top third of your networking community in terms of being one of the best networkers in that group. By one of the best networkers, I mean that you see connections and introductions that are needed by the people you are speaking to, and you circle back and provide that information.”

Most of the hands in this group went up. And what I said to them was this:

If your hand is up, it means you are the 10 million dollar home in your networking community. The 10 million dollar home on your block. Why?

Referrals come from other people, which means if the people you’re networking with aren’t as good at networking as you are (or better), those neighbors are bringing you down. This is because networking and referral generation is a language shared at the level of community. This gives you two choices:

1. You can move to a new networking neighborhood (i.e., create new networking circles) filled with 10, 20, and 30 million dollar homes: people better than you at making connections and introductions. If you’re the 10 million dollar home in this scenario, your neighbors are moving your value up. The challenge of moving to a new networking neighborhood, though, is that it takes 2 years of courting high-level influencers to win over their trust, inspiring them to open their network and refer people to you. It can be done, but it takes time. (And this happens to be one of my favorite — and most fulfilling — things I train clients to do.)

2. You can take your existing networking “neighbors” and bring them up — literally, increase their value as networking partners. This speaks to the idea of all ships rising. It’s one of the most powerful and fundamental elements of the work I do: training leaders, or the 10 million dollar homes on their blocks, how to learn the language of referral generation in such a way that they can teach it to their fellow networking colleagues. It’s about raising the networking IQ so that everyone in the neighborhood is fluently speaking the language of referral mastery. 

My favorite solution, however, is a hybrid of the two: learning how to win over the big shots as well as raising the ships in our current circle of friends and colleagues. Take inventory of your own networking neighborhood, and create a game plan for increasing the value of your personal networking real estate.

In farming networking, much like asparagus, you need to nurture your networking garden for a year, sometimes two, before seeing explosive results. The good news is that properly developed networking relationships (your “Power Partners”) produce a sustainable yield, and can feed your business for years, even decades.

Cynthia Greenawalt
Cynthia Greenawalt

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