Are you not meeting enough decision makers who can hire you?

Maybe your message is not compelling enough. Maybe you have not built enough trust before you make your offer. Or maybe you simply have not explored different ways to approach the decision maker.

In this article, I will show your how you can re-engineer the path to get to know the decision makers who can hire you.


1. Start With the End in Mind

Too many times, we go out there trying to meet a bunch of people without evening knowing why. We go to networking events with the hope of meeting a big shot there who will magically hire us. Unfortunately, most of the time that is not what happens. I hear it again and again when I start working with clients that they realize they have attended the wrong networking events until now.

So how do you figure out which places to go to? You define the end result.


2. Set SMART Goals

This is probably not something new for you in your day to day work. However, most people don’t use this method when they are networking. If you are going out there and make connections, make sure you know why and that it’s worth it attending a specific event or emailing a certain person.

If you define a Specific Measurable Attainable Relevant Timely goal, it helps you focus on what you need to do to get there and you can measure your progress to see if you are on track.

So what is it that you want to achieve? Is it a new career in a different environment? Is it working with an organization that inspires you? Is it getting more consulting clients on board?

Whatever it is, make sure it’s SMART. Here are a few bad examples:

“My goal is to get a new job”

“My goal is to relocate to Switzerland”

“My goal is to work with great organizations”

These goals are everything else but SMART. Here are a few good examples:

“My goal is to work as a business development executive at a clean tech startup in Zurich by 31st December 2014.”

“My goal is to meet with at least 5 inspiring CEOs of organizations in Zurich that work in education by 19th July 2014.”

“My goal is to meet with at least 5 inspiring partners of Venture Capital firms in Zurich by 30th June 2014.”


3. Create Your Outreach List

Who do you need to meet to make that happen?

For instance, If your goal is to meet the 5 CEOs, they go on your outreach list. However, these are most probably not the only people you need to meet. Who else could increase your chances to meet these CEOs?

Are they speaking at an event in the next 3 months? Maybe you need to get to know the event organizer then.

Are they working with an executive coach? Then you should probably get to know that coach.

Are they going to the local chamber of commerce meetup next month? Then you should probably be there too.

Who else do these CEOs know? Do they have employees? Probably.

What other professionals do they work with? Are they going to seminars and workshops? Maybe you should get to know the hosts of those events then.

Your outreach list is a combination of the people who can directly make your goal happen and people who can help you get to know these decision makers.


4. How Can You Meet the Influencers?

Let’s say you found out that the CEO is working with an executive coach and you want to meet her. How are you going to do that? Do you know anybody who knows her? What events is she going to? Who does she hang around with that you can meet?

Maybe you discovered that the CEO is speaking at the next CEO Days event so knowing the organizer of the event would probably be very helpful for you.

How can you get to know the organizer? Is there anything you can do for him? Can you introduce him to somebody in your network he should get to know? Can you help him with the organization of the event through your time, network or knowledge?

For instance, if the CEO is regularly going to the American-Swiss Chamber of Commerce meetings, you may want to become a member too and get to know the president and the other organizers at the next monthly meeting.

See, there are plenty of ways you can find and meet the influencers, the people who can make things happen for you like an introduction or open another door.


5. Who Else Do You Need to Meet?

It may be that the CEO you want to meet is way out of reach for you at the moment and that’s fine. If you have set a clear goal and develop a plan to get there, you can make it happen.

If the decision maker you want to meet is more than one degree of separation away, I suggest you draw a networking chart. Here is an example of how it could look like.

networking flow chart

Draw as many possible ways of connections as you can find. This will be your plan on how to get to know the CEO.

Sometimes it’s more challenging and you don’t know what the different connection steps are in the middle. If that’s the case, make an educated guess who the CEO could be connected to, which associations he is part of or where he could possibly hang out.


6. Define the Very Next Step

When you have the plan in place, you need to define the next action step that will get you closer to your goal. Then, you gradually move forward and build one relationships at a time.

This is the process that I use with my clients once they have clarity about what their SMART goal is. If you need personal guidance to make the relationships happen, schedule a Skype call with me.


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