The following is a true story that I have never revealed before… it has a few confessions, but my hope is that through this story I can inspire others and share what is possible…
They say “it is not who you are, it’s who you know“, I couldn’t agree more.
Not many people admit it, but nobody in the history of life or business got to where they are today all on their own.
The value of relationships can be seen in many ways… perhaps a contact introduced you to a supplier, or perhaps a joint venture partner earned you your first $1,000, perhaps a contact became a business partner or investor… perhaps you connected with a PR person or journalist who helped spread the word, or maybe even a contact who mentored you and shared their secrets…
There are thousands of ways influencers and strategic contacts can help propel you to new heights, or pull you up when you are drowning.
But not everyone is naturally an outgoing people person, not everyone knows what to say in social situations, and so they are at a HUGE disadvantage.
Not many people know this, but I was the same way…
I was extremely introverted as a child… I often masked it through terrible jokes, but in my early years of my career I turned down hundreds of interviews, phone calls and speaking gigs…
In fact, my first business partner and I worked together for 5 months before I plucked up the courage to speak to him on the phone, and it was 10 months before we met in person.
It took a bottle of wine before Yanik Silver encouraged me to speak on stage for the first time…
Yet despite all of this, I have since spoken around the world, I have thousands of friends and contacts, I am considered an influencer by 3rd party sites like Klout.com, I was able to connect with influencers like Hollywood A-lister Jimmy Fallon and within 2 hours he wrote material for my first speaking gig, I was able to spend an afternoon with one of my business idols Rich Schefren, and am considered an outgoing, confident person by many who follow me on social media sites…
So how on earth did this happen? how could someone with my fears, concerns and insecurities become an influencer and social relationship builder?
And most importantly… can you do the same?
I have entire systems and strategies for building rapport, influence, credibility and like ability through Social Media… but below are a few tips and tricks to help you on your way:
#1 – Sometimes it is what you DON’T do/say that matters
Relationship builders are usually considered to be the outgoing, extroverted types… but research has shown there is a direct correlation between social skills and awareness and introversion. The cruel irony is that the people who are most skilled at reading social situations, body language etc… are usually the ones saying the least.
If you have ever met a very loud person that seems oblivious to the cringing and awkwardness of the other people around him/her, then you will know what I mean. Introverts are often skilled in picking up the meaning behind the words, they can detect subtle body language changes etc… and as a result, they are worried about putting themselves out there.
Know that you have the skillset, you just need to know how to use it more effectively.
#2 – Social Media has taken all of the hard work out of the early stages of relationship building.
Imagine two people on a date… what are they typically doing?
In most cases they are asking questions to try and find out about the other person’s passions, hobbies, interests, beliefs etc..
“What’s your fav movie?”
“What’s your views on X?”
“Do you like to read?”
It can often be more like an interview or interrogation, such is the frantic need to find the missing link that can connect the two parties.
Sites like Facebook take all the time, effort and hard work out of this process… One click of a button to check your timeline or profile will likely tell me EVERYTHING I need to know:
* Your hobbies
* Your likes
* Your interests
* Your religion/beliefs
You get the picture… so gone are the days of desperately trying to find something that you have in common. Also, by knowing EXACTLY what makes that person tick, you have a list of potential topics already made.
What’s more… sites like Facebook will tell you if you have any friends in common, so introductions and talking points are made even easier.
#3 – Don’t get married on a first date.
This advice is of course an analogy, and it may be deemed common-sense to most… but the fact remains that only a small percent of people follow this advice… so this alone would put you in the top 5% of relationship builders on the net.
I was recently sent a message that said: “Hi site owner, I have a product that does X, would you promote it for me?
Clearly this person didn’t even know my name, yet he is already trying to seal the deal.
Imagine doing this on a date… “Hi there sexy lady at the bar, want to come to my room?”
You would likely get arrested.
So why do people think it is ok to do this on the social web?
Here is a checklist of boxes that need to be ticked before you try and pitch anything:
1) Rapport/like-ability – does this person feel a connection or interest towards you?
2) Trust/credibility – do they feel you can deliver value and are trustworthy?
These are essential to a relationship.
There are others, but don’t even mention your offer or service before the above is established.
People have amazing BS detectors and spam radars, so when we connect with a new person we are naturally on edge, anticipating a pitch or spam at any minute.. those barriers need to be down before any business can be done.
We live in a world that is more connected than ever before… the Internet is now the “SOCIAL web”, yet a LOT of people don’t have the skills or knowledge to survive and thrive in a world where relationships are the currency that makes everything tick.
Ask yourself this question: If I could connect with 5 influencers in the world, who would they be and why?
Here are some suggestions:
* Journalists/PR people – to help spread the word about your projects
* Joint venture partners
* Mentors/coaches – to share their wisdom
* Celebrities – this could be a micro celeb like a blogger, pundit etc… an endorsement, tweet or association is often the single most valuable thing a startup can get
Over the coming years I am going to make it my mission to help people of all backgrounds, social skill levels and industries learn how to reach influencers and build valuable and profitable REAL relationships via social media sites.
Anyone can do this, even a former introvert like myself.