In this chapter, Marc explains the meaning and importance of strategic relationships and gives instructions on how to create, build, and cultivate them. Marc categorizes the people you should have in your tribe, and how you can fill the missing spaces in your tribe. Marc recommends you have a tribe of 100 to 150 people. He gives recommendations for strengthening relationships by giving value more than asking for help. He gives a plan for reaching out to new connections and what you should talk about with them. Listen in for your playbook for building strategic relationships.
[1:17] Marc welcomes you to Episode 139 of the Repurpose Your Career podcast. Career Pivot is the sponsor of this podcast; CareerPivot.com is one of the very few websites dedicated to those of us in the second half of life and our careers. Check out the blog and the other resources delivered to you, free of charge.
[1:46] If you are enjoying this podcast, please share it with other like-minded souls. Subscribe on CareerPivot.com, iTunes, or any of the other apps that supply podcasts. Share it on social media or just tell your neighbors and colleagues. The more people Marc reaches, the more people he can help.
[2:20] You will receive new chapters as they become available. Marc plans to release just one more chapter before releasing the book. Marc is looking for honest feedback and would love to get an honest review on Amazon.com after the book is released.
[2:36] Marc plans to release the book in mid-September and do both a virtual and a real book tour. Marc has already recorded multiple podcast guest appearances, three of which have already been published.
[2:49] Marc was interviewed on the iRelaunch podcast, the Not Old, Better Show podcast, and the As We Get Older podcast.
[3:06] Marc will be in Austin the week of September 22nd, the New Jersey/Pennsylvania area the week of September 29th, and D.C., the following week. Marc would love to meet his readers and listeners.
[3:18] Marc has two events planned in Austin, four in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, and is working on a few more. He doesn’t have anything scheduled for the D.C. area, but will probably do a meet-and-greet there.
[3:30] Reach out to Marc at Podcasts@CareerPivot.com if you’d be willing to give Marc some advice on venues or groups who’d be interested in hosting an event.
[3:39] Next week, Marc will be do an encore episode from when he interviewed Alexander Buschek. Marc finishes the episode with a short update discussion that he recorded last week with Alexander.
[3:53] This week, Marc will read the preview chapter from Repurpose Your Career: Playbook for Building Strategic Relationships. Marc hopes you will enjoy it!
[4:09] Strategic networking does not happen at networking events. People build strategic relationships after events, when they meet one-on-one and get to know each other and find common ground.
[4:44] With whom should you build strategic relationships? The first are connectors — people who know a lot of people and enjoy connecting them. They are always introducing people to each other, in person, or by email or social media. Marc is a connector.
[5:15] Don’t wear out your relationship by relying too much on one connector. You need several connectors in your network. Connectors create connections for many people who matter to them, not just for you. They will expect you to help people they introduce to you. Be sure to provide help as well as receiving it.
[5:53] The recruiter is a special class of connector. Recruiters are very busy. They are ‘people people.’ When you engage with them, do so with a purpose that you have stated clearly to them.
[6:13] Mentors guide you. As a Boomer, Marc started his career at IBM in the 1970s. He knew he needed people who could advise him about his career, who knew their business, and were not ‘jerks.’ Seek out people you can learn from and cultivate formal mentoring relationships. Marc now has multiple mentors in different subject areas.
[6:52] Look for industry or company experts. Be very selective in choosing whom in your industry or company you need to know. Make sure they know who you are and what value you bring to the table. You do not need to form a bond with them, but you need to be on their radar screen.
[7:14] Marc shares an example from a client who escaped downsizing by seeking advice from a person of importance at his company. They had had a working relationship for several years.
[7:45] Peers may need your help. Seek them out. It’s important to help others and expect nothing in return. Be that person people know they can turn to when they need help.
[8:03] Locate the LinkedIn profile of someone you know who could be part of your tribe. You may want to build a spreadsheet and categorize each contact: Connectors, Mentors, Company of Industry Experts, and Peers.
[8:20] It may take you a week or more to think of very person and categorize them. It will give you an idea about the strength of your network and how to build it strategically. What role does everyone play in your success? What strategic relationships are missing? What are the categories or skill areas where you need more people?
[8:58] Make a list of people you would like to meet. Who in your network knows them well enough to make an introduction? Marc always wants an introduction to a new connection. In sales, this is a warm lead.
[9:13] Strategic networking means building your tribe. Do you have a tribe — people you can go to for a favor and expect it to be granted? Dig through your email contacts, LinkedIn connections and Facebook friends. Identify people you’d feel comfortable asking for help.
[9:34] This may be a short list. This is not people who would help you move. It might just be getting together for a coffee to discuss strategies for infiltrating a company you want to target for employment. Not everyone is in your tribe. You may have thousands of followers or connections, but how many of them do you really know?
[10:02] The number of relationships you can maintain is known as Dunbar’s Number. It is around 150. That number turns up often in our society. The Amish break up communities when they reach 150.
[10:34] Your tribe are people who understand what you’re aiming for and are in your corner. If they meet someone who needs what you’re offering, they’ll make an introduction. They want to know how it’s going in your life, career, or job hunt. They’re not being polite. They will also turn to you when they need help, advice, or a referral.
[11:01] A tribe is like a barn-raising, where you show up with your tools to help a neighbor build his barn, knowing he’ll show up to help you build yours. Marc recalls struggling with being a novice high school math teacher after being an expert in his field.
[11:33] Every three weeks Marc sent an email to a list of about 100, documenting his experiences and difficulties. His readers looked forward to his emails and gave encouraging feedback. Marc received lots of advice and help, but more importantly, he received love and support. He would not have made it through the year without his tribe.
[12:14] If you don’t have 100 people in your tribe, you have work to do! If there is an area where you have few connections, leverage your network to help you develop strategic relationships. Once you have an introduction, schedule a coffee meeting, or a phone call. If you make one outreach a week, your tribe will grow naturally.
[12:45] You have to cultivate your tribe like a garden. Occasionally, you will weed it of people with whom you have no connection. You will water it, when there’s no rain. You may need to apply fertilizer. You can’t neglect it. It needs regular ‘TLC.’ It needs to be part of the way you think and live or it will wither.
[13:16] One of the easiest ways to provide TLC for your tribe is to stay in touch. At least once a month, Marc looks through his contacts to find someone he has not heard from recently. He sends an email message to check in with them and see how they are and shares his news. He asks for a meeting over coffee. He usually gets a friendly reply.
[14:09] Cultivating is all about building relationships. Messages are helpful but there’s no substitute for a face-to-face meeting where you get to shake hands and read body language. Marc likes coffee meetings first thing in the morning. Sometimes Marc meets a new contact for a morning walk instead of coffee. What time works for you?
[14:44] Schedule regular times to meet face-to-face with someone in your network. Make it a habit.
[14:51] When you meet, make sure you are building a relationship rather than killing it. People frequently make one of three mistakes: spending all the time talking about themselves, asking questions that the other person isn’t comfortable answering, or squandering the meeting and forgetting their primary objectives.
[15:18] How you present yourself furthers your personal brand. If you make one of the three mistakes, you show your personal brand to be self-centered, unprofessional, or scattered. If you are focused, clear, and appropriate, that’s what the person you meet is going to remember.
[15:41] Marc gives an example of looking for a position. After doing your homework on the company and getting an introduction to Natalie, the person in charge of the position, ask her for AIR — Advice, Insights, and Recommendation. Marc explains simply how to do this and how you could direct the conversation with very open-ended questions.
[17:06] In your meeting, talk about yourself only when asked. This is all about building a relationship. Asking for advice, insight, and recommendations is a great way to initiate and cultivate a lasting relationship.
[17:24] You have not asked for help to get a job. You have asked for help to understand the organization, and for further networking opportunities. You are networking to build relationships, not to find a job. The opportunity to interview for a position will come later, after you have established relationships.
[17:45] Natalie will likely introduce you to at least one person, if you made it clear you are interested in her insight and perspective. You can then ask for AIR from each person Natalie introduced you to. When each of these meetings is complete, send Natalie an email and let her know how it went and if you received more introductions.
[18:16] People love to know they are helping and that the time they spent with you had some value. They also appreciate knowing that you’re grateful and recognize the time and effort they contributed to your career search.
[18:30] If a position opens up at a hot startup, Natalie will think of you if you’ve made a favorable impression. She might even call you before the position is posted. That is how Marc was hired at his last two tech startup jobs.
[18:46] Include recruiters in your tribe. Recruiters like dealing with people, and like helping people. In general, they are very nice people. They change jobs frequently with the ups and downs of the economy. They are the first to be laid off when things get bad and the first to be hired when things turn around.
[19:20] Recruiters connect with almost everyone in the organization. They carry those connections from company to company. They have large networks. A recruiter is often the person between you and the hiring manager. You want to share your personal brand with recruiters.
[19:40] When you locate a company that looks like a good potential employer for your services, you should go to a LinkedIn search, and look on the title field for recruiter, talent, talent acquisition, human resources, or HR. Identify recruiters and send them connection requests that state why you want to connect.
[20:21] Marc gives a sample connection request.
[20:40] In your invitation to connect, ask if you could set up a time to talk about the organization.
[20:50] The recruiter will likely respond by looking at your profile, accept your invitation to connect, which will put you as 2nd connections to their network, and, if they like your profile, they will reach out to you for a short email or phone conversation. They may forward you on to the recruiter that handles the positions you are looking for.
[21:46] If they don’t connect, try another recruiter at the same company. If the recruiter does connect, call them. Marc shares suggestions for what to say when you call. Be persistent. Repeat this procedure in a few days if you don’t get a response.
[22:22] If you connect, but you never hear from them, send them an email or a LinkedIn message. Recruiters need you as much as you need them. They are looking for referrals. When you talk to them, always be polite and courteous. Always complete the conversation asking how you can help them.
[22:43] Recruiters move around. Keep track of their career moves on LinkedIn. Be helpful to them when you’re not looking for the next gig. Marc stresses that building long-term relationships with recruiters will pay long-term dividends.
[23:03] Marc’s last tip about recruiters: Recruiters usually use a company email address on LinkedIn. From their address you can see how the company formats email addresses, i.e., email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. This helps you guess the addresses of other employees you might want to contact.
[23:28] Make strategic networking part of your career strategy. Are you ready to cultivate and manage that relationship strategically? If you strategically manage your network, and cultivate the right relationships, you will stay employed at a company where you want to be for the rest of your career.
[23:49] You now have a playbook for strategic networking. Are you ready to execute the plays? Action steps: Make a spreadsheet of people you consider to be in your tribe. How many are connectors, peers, industry experts, or recruiters?
[24:06] Are you missing anyone from your tribe? Begin connecting with people from the categories where you’re missing connections. Cultivate your tribe by working to build relationships. Schedule times each week to reach out to the people in your tribe and ask how they are. Offer help or ask to meet for coffee or a walk.
[24:29] Marc hopes you enjoyed this episode.
[24:31] The Career Pivot Membership Community continues to help the approximately 50 members who are participating in the Beta phase of this project to grow and thrive. The community has moved on to the next phase where community members who have experienced success get to share their successes and teach others.
[24:48] This is a community where everyone is there to help everyone else out. Marc is recruiting members for the next cohort.
[24:55] If you are interested in the endeavor and would like to be put on the waiting list, please go to CareerPivot.com/Community. When you sign up you’ll receive information about the community as it evolves.
[25:08] Those who are in these initial cohorts set the direction. This is a paid membership community with group coaching and special content. More importantly, it’s a community where you can seek help. Please go to CareerPivot.com/Community to learn more.
[25:29] This Fall, the community is moving out of the beta phase into full production.
[25:34] Marc invites you to connect with him on LinkedIn.com/in/mrmiller. Just include in the connection request that you listen to this podcast. You can look for Career Pivot on Facebook, LinkedIn, or @CareerPivot on Twitter.
[25:52] Please come back next week, when Marc will have Alexander Buschek back on.
[25:57] Marc thanks you for listening to the Repurpose Your Career podcast.
[26:01] You will find the show notes for this episode at CareerPivot.com/episode-139.
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