A few months ago, I wrote about The Real Reason Why You Hate Networking. I described three different types of people that we all have in our network. The 3rd category are the Zombies. In short, these are people who drain your energy and life blood, or simply bore you to death.
To live up to our full potential in business, we need to eliminate the Zombies in our network and only let in ideal people. Let me show you how to do this.
Why Do We Have Zombies in Our Network?
First of all, let me add a disclaimer here. The people we call Zombies are not bad people.
Depending on what movies you have watched, you may disagree with me. However, remember that I use Zombies simply as a metaphor.
They may perfectly get along well with others and you may even be a Zombie in their network. They are just not meant to be around you and you are not meant to be around them.
As the name implies, Zombies drain your energy and life blood. So why do we have them in our network then?
Usually, we know them because we went to school with them or worked with them. This usually means, the relationship was forced upon us.
Sometimes, they are people in influential positions who could potentially make things happen for us. Maybe they are the President of The Rising CEOs’ Network, an influencer of a political party or a Fortune 500 Chairman.
We somehow think that we are supposed to keep in touch with them because that’s what everybody tells us we need to do.
Let me relief you from that thought for a moment. You don’t have to keep in touch with everybody you have ever met just to keep in touch. That’s like doing work for the sake of work. Doesn’t make much sense, right?
Let’s talk about the President of The Rising CEOs’ Network where a lot of your target clients hang out. If you could get a speaking engagement there or if the President would send an email to all their members and introduce you, that could potentially add a lot of money to your bottom line.
But what if you and the President don’t have anything in common? What if you don’t share any values or interests? What if he is a Zombie? How are you going to make this relationship work?
Most of the time, it’s not going to work. Even if you get a speaking gig or introduction by the President, it won’t have a big impact because it’s not meant sincere and he won’t actively endorse you.
Sometimes, we need to let go these energy draining attempts to keep in touch with people we have nothing in common with and go out there to find other people whom we really connect with.
The Keep in Touch Problem
A lot of clients seek my help because they have trouble keeping in touch with decision makers and influencers. It’s not that they don’t know the theory of how to do it but they struggle with what to say or they overcomplicate it.
Let’s go back to the President of The Rising CEOs’ Network.
How are you going to keep in touch with him over the next 3 months to build enough trust so he will engage you as a speaker at the next monthly meeting? What will you talk about in your keep in touch efforts if you have nothing in common with him? How are you supposed to create value?
It’s obviously very challenging. It’s not entirely impossible but it takes a lot of effort and most probably feels artificial to you and to him.
That’s what usually happens when we try to keep in touch with Zombies in our network.
The problem is not only that you don’t know what to say but also that your brain links pain with the idea of keeping in touch and will try to prevent you from doing it again.
If that happens, it gets harder every time until you finally give up. Don’t let that happen to you.
Keep in Touch Made Easy
What I always do first with my clients is to sift and sort through the network of people to identify Zombies and create a filtration system to apply for every new connection that could get into their network.
Once my client realizes that she does not have to keep in touch with all the 700 non-ideal but somehow influential people in her network, there is suddenly much more space for new ideal people and opportunities.
I did this in my own business and reduced the people I actively keep in touch with by 80%. I created a whole lot more time and energy and was able to selectively let people into my network who are both, highly influential and ideal.
I got more time, energy, friendships, speaking gigs and ideal clients as a result.
I understand if you are not ready yet to fire the Zombies from your network. You don’t have to. You can use a more comfortable strategy.
1. Stop Reconnecting With Zombies
The first step is to stop keeping in touch actively with the Zombies in your network. Realize that they most probably won’t be of any value to you anyway, even if they seem to be in influential positions.
Naturally, they also won’t reach out to you and you will realize that it was always you who kept in touch, with no interest from their side to keep up the relationship.
Lesson learned, let’s move on.
2. Reach Out to Ideal People
Once you have created your Red Velvet Rope Policy and know exactly who gets into your network and who doesn’t, you can go search for them. What you will see is that it’s much easier to find them once you know exactly who they are.
Now it’s on you to reach out to them and make the connection happen. You will also realize that it’s much easier for you to reach out because you actually care about them and what they do.
Even the response rates will dramatically increase because they feel your outreach efforts are authentic and sincere.
3. Keep in Touch With Your Ideal People
Once you start expanding your network only with ideal people, you obviously need to keep in touch with them.
It may take a few attempts until they respond to you even if they are ideal. People are busy. That does not mean that you give up. Be persistent and patient.
As a result of spending more time to keep in touch with your ideal people, you simply won’t have any more time to spend with the Zombies. What a relief.
How to Create Your Red Velvet Rope Policy
I have created an entire workbook for you to create your filtration system and also to create a highly effective communication strategy when reaching out to your ideal decision makers and influencers.
Basically, you need to figure out what values, qualities and characteristics you want to see in people you spend time with.
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