I’m a lazy networker.
I don’t pack my days with meetings, I don’t go to conferences, and I don’t actively seek out introductions to people. However, I’m still incredibly effective at building a strong and powerful network.
Who this post is for: startup founders who are shy and don’t actively build a network; professionals outside of a business development role that still want to build a network
What you will learn: three lazy methods that I use to build a powerful network
Utilize your “startup card” to connect with professionals on LinkedIn
Professionals love to feel important. They’ve worked hard their entire lives to get to the point where they’re at today; if you make them feel special, needed, or intelligent, then they’ll give you their time.
This is why you can use your “startup card” to connect with many professionals online.
Startup card: utilizing your “founder” status to ask for feedback about your product.
I send the following types of messages via InMail on LinkedIn:
Subject: Hi Name: I’m an entrepreneur seeking feedback
My name is Jun Loayza and I’m the CMO of Bunny Inc.
Why I’m messaging you today: I found your profile via LinkedIn and strongly believe that your insight and experience would bring great value to the product that I’m building.
Are you willing to share your valuable experience?
Thank you very much,
Keep in mind, this message works great for early stage entrepreneurs.
Introduce your connections to each other
This is by far my favorite technique.
Entrepreneurs are always looking to connect with other people. The more powerful your network, the more powerful that you are. But few professionals actually take the time to make introductions without being prompted to do it.
It’s actually a lot easier than you think. Throughout my startup career, I’ve met designers, engineers, writers, videographers, and marketers. Whenever I hear a friend mention that he’s looking for someone in particular, I’ll reach out to my network and make the introduction.
Example: my friend is the founder of Kiip. He mentioned that his best clients are large publications such as GQ. I remembered meeting the business development director of Condé Nast. Without even being asked, I made an introduction via email introducing both professionals.
Here is the email I used to introduce them:
Hey Todd, I’d like to introduce you to my good friend Billy who is the founder of Kiip.
Billy, I’d like to introduce you to my friend Todd who is the Business Development Director at Condé Nast.
Why I’m making the introduction: I like to pair people in my network who I feel can greatly benefit from knowing each other. Todd, I know that you love connecting with smart people, and Billy is one of the brightest people I know. I feel it’s especially worth taking a look at Kiip and the potential it has with your vast network.
Billy, Todd is extremely well connected and can teach you many lessons about how to build a powerful network.
I’ll let you guys take it from here.
Immediately ask for introductions
Once you’ve made an introduction, strike while the iron is hot and ask for an introduction in return. This works especially well with business development professionals.
Let them do the hard work: tell your contact what you’re looking to accomplish instead of telling them who you want to meet. For example, I tell my contacts that I’m looking to grow VoiceBunny through inbound marketing and international expansion. I let them decide who to best connect me to.
You don’t need to constantly attend events and meet new people to build a strong network. Utilize your current relationships to your own advantage.