A friend of mine in Chicago Steve Congdon suggested I write a blog on the type of network a New Business person should have to be successful. Steve provides New Business Coaching services for agencies.
I have worked for many great agencies in my career. I have also conducted agency searches for clients like Jenny Craig, Raley’s Supermarkets, and Jacuzzi. I believe I have a perspective from both sides of the street.
I remember often seeing recruitment ads for New Business people saying things like “Must Have a Strong and Deep Rolodex from A to Z. It is important to have a strong network but New Business pursuit isn’t always linear and not always an A to B game.
I believe that a New Business Person must have a very broad and deep network and that depth and breadth isn’t always who you would expect. A strong New Business Person must have presence both in online networks and personal networks. When I run into a New Business Person who has a limited number of Linkedin connections I know they aren’t hunters. They are probably working at an agency that gets a steady stream of RFP’s and doesn’t have to leave their embassy which will be an eventual mistake.
So here are some letters in my Rolodex that I think are important. First is the C Suite. That’s pretty predicable. That’s the Keith Ferrazi approach. The bigger the Fish the better. There is no doubt that the higher up the person is the more influence they generally have it you can get to them.
I have met more CEO’s and Presidents in the last five years than I met in the previous decade. I often met them while they were in transition. I was valuable to them when they were looking because I have a very broad and diverse network. I can help them find that job because I probably have some contacts at their target companies. That is one way to build up your C Suite Connections. The other way to meet people in the C Suite is to help their children find jobs. I wrote a blog called Why Graduates Are Looking for Jobs All in the Wrong Places that sheds some more light on this.
Then there is the Z Suite. The people not at the top of the company org chart but they may turn out to be very important parts of your network. During my entire career I have always cultivated a relationship with the Z Suite because few do. Many of these people have provided me with great insight and have opened many doors on my New Business Journey.
You also have to be connected with the T Suite. This suite is comprised of successful career achievers who happen to be at a stage in their journey that they are in transition. I have written a blog in the past called Why I Network with People in Transition. I have worked and been compensated by many clients that I met while they were in the desert but they emerged and remembered me. If you are pitching a piece of business and want some insight into that company find some people who used to work there and are currently in transition. You will get much more insight than a Google search.
Then there is the F Suite or Future Suite. I have been speaking to PR, Advertising and Marketing classes and groups at local colleges for over 10 years now. Guess where those students are now that I met when they were 19 or 20. Do they remember me? You see youth can provide a better residual stream of income than multi level marketing. If you don’t find that you will certainly find a lot of social currency.
And then there is the S or Serendipity suite. You see to be successful in New Business you know an assortment of diverse contacts as closely connected to the street as possible. In all sectors. The strength of my network is in its diversity as well as its breadth. There are people in my network who are 22 and extremely well skilled in technology with the vision of youth. They lack some experience but that is relatively easy in the end. And there are people like John Vrba who is the Patriach of Media and is 93. You can connect with him on Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and Google +.
In the end your network, no matter how large is not very powerful if you only have contacts. You need to have connections not contacts. A network is like a fire that needs to be stoked or it will go out. You need to have those people thinking of you and to do that you have to be thinking of them. That means being out there at networking events, reaching out to them, checking in with them, informing them, and helping them. That’s how you make your network organic and powerful. And that is how your get New Business.
You can connect with Hank on Linkedin
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Watch some videos on http://www.youtube.com/user/MrHankblank
Here is one about the RFP process. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6jEGgVHx_g&feature=related