Stop networking, start connecting

So, the objective of expertise PR is actually pretty simple: Raise awareness of you as an marketing thought leader and specialist with opinion leaders so they will talk about you and prospects so they will contact you, rather than you having to contact them first (e-newsletter, mailings or cold call, etc.).  The process works but depending on a number of factors — sometimes it can take a while.

Anyway, in the meantime, the bills keep coming in and so you still need to pull in some new business. One way to do this is to expand your network of loose connections. Loose connections are people you have met and exchanged enough information with that you have established a baseline of mutual trust.

You can do this a number of ways; LinkedIn and Twitter for example, are both ways to establish loose connections. I will write a whole post on how to develop loose connections over the Internet, next week. I can tell you, however,  that the loose connections I’ve established in person are much stronger than most of those I’ve established online. I can think of one exception and even that relationship was quickly confirmed by a couple of phone calls. Loose connections that are formed (or at least confirmed) personally are much stronger and more actionable than those formed online because of the extra information we receive from the person based on their image, the way they carry themselves and their overall vibe.

Any place people gather together for social purposes is an opportunity to form loose connections. In fact, sometimes it’s really good to get out of the business environment. Think art gallery opening. 10K run. Martial arts class. Classical music performance. Ballroom dance classes. And, of course, the golf course.

If none of that appeals to you, find an industry association luncheon in a vertical you serve and attend as a guest. Interview the people at your table and get them talking about their businesses. Probe for problems. Wait for the right moment and then share a quick anecdote about how you’ve solved a similar problem. If what they need is not within your purview, mine your network and refer them to someone who can. What goes around really does come around.

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