We’ve all heard the phrase:
“It’s not what you know; it’s who you know.”
It’s true for every new grad searching for a job, seasoned professionals ready to move into a different career, or salespeople hunting for the best way to land that lucrative deal with an unfamiliar company.
Truth is, people refer business from those they know, like, and trust. So, aligning yourself with the right people is essential if you want to succeed.
That includes finding and reaching out to the right people.
It may be overwhelming to find the right people. Fortunately, the internet is a fantastic resource. Use it to pinpoint the people who can help you reach your own personal goals. When you’re researching people to connect with, think about where you want to end up and how those people will help get you there. Do you have a certain job title in mind and want to reach individuals who hold those same titles? Maybe you need to reach a top executive or decisionmaker to clinch a deal.
It may seem like a good idea to walk blindly into an industry networking event and chat up whomever will give you the time of day, but I highly recommend against that. It’s better to know WHO you want to connect with before walking into a room.
Advance research and preparation will set you up for success and generate a more fruitful connection with your prospect.
Here’s how you research:
- Search your targeted industry, person, company, or job title
- Once you’ve found some potential prospects, set a timer and spend 60 minutes learning everything you can about them. Look for points of commonality, shared interests, and ways to bond.
- Check social media, especially LinkedIn
- As you’re researching, write down 3-4 interesting points of information about them to bring up when you do meet them. It could be:
- A recent award or accomplishment
- News clip
- A charitable cause they are involved in
- Shared personal interests
- Talk to mutual acquaintances, assistants, colleagues, and others to understand a fuller picture of who they are
You never know who may have your next life-changing opportunity — you just have to put in a little work to find them!