How would you like to build a powerful network that you can call on when you need it most?

The kind of network that you can call on when you lose your job, launch a new product, or simply need some advice. The kind of network that makes you money, is there when you need it, and continues to grow simply from introductions from other people in your network. Would you like that kind of a network?

Well, the good news is that it’s completely possible. All it takes is a little effort and a little know-how. Today, I will share with you the five simple ways I’ve grown my network and kept it warm for when I need it.

How to grow your network and keep it warm
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The old saying goes: “It’s not what you know, but who you know.”

Correction: It’s not who you know, but how well you know them.

Bonus Content: Want to know how to use LinkedIn for next level networking? I put together a tutorial to show you my four killer secrets to develop a powerful network on LinkedIn. Look for it at the end of this post or Click Here to Get it Now!

The facts of networking

FACT: Every job I’ve ever had in my life came from my network. I’ve literally never worked for someone who I didn’t know or wasn’t referred to me by someone I know.

Not once have I ever landed a job because of an application or résumé site. I tried them and they led nowhere.

FACT: Of the 50+ people I’ve hired in my life, exactly one was not a referral from someone else.

Everyone I’ve ever hired in my life was the result of a relationship. Except for that one guy…and we fired him within a year.

FACT: Every client I’ve ever obtained was the result of my network.

Going back to my first business more than ten years ago, every client I’ve ever worked with came to me or was introduced to me by someone else. I’ve never advertised my services because I’ve never needed to.

How do I maintain a large network that keeps growing every week? How do I keep it warm so that when I need it, it’s there for me? Here are five ways.

5 ways to grow your network and keep it warm

1. Quarterly reach out emails

If you are in my network, you will get an email from me every three months. That’s more than 4800 (and growing) emails every year!

It’s not what you know or even who you know, but how well you know them. How do I send so many emails? I simply divide them up. Every Tuesday and Thursday I get a reminder to email one letter in my network alphabet. The first Tuesday is “A.” The last Thursday is “Z” (that’s a short one). Conveniently there are 26 letters in the alphabet and 13 weeks in a quarter, so it generally works out to one email to each person per quarter. What do I say in those emails? Nothing fancy. Just a quick hello, well wishes, an update on how things are for me and my family, and an offer to help in any way that I can.

2. Birthday calls

This is a recent addition for me, thanks to Tom Corley. You can read all about why these are so effective here: Next Level Networking: Happy Birthday Calls I scour my connections for their birthdays. I look on LinkedIn, Skype, you name it. If I can find it, I use it. If I can’t find it, I listen. If someone mentions their birthday, I make a note of it.

3. Stay on the lookout

Look for opportunities to reach out. Did someone get a promotion? Celebrate the birth of a child? Get a new job? Suffer a loss? Every opportunity to say congratulations, offer condolences, or offer your help is an opportunity you must take. Check out today’s bonus video training to learn more ways to use LinkedIn specifically to reach out to people.

4. Set an introduction goal

Set a goal to introduce X number of people to each other each week. I don’t know what your X is. It could five or it could be one. One is fine. If you introduce one person to someone else every week, your network will stay warm and others will return the favor which will grow it as well. As you develop this habit, that one will soon be two, three, or more. You will begin to think in terms of “to whom can I introduce this person to?” every time you talk to someone. You will train your mind to seek out like-minded people who can benefit from the relationship and vice versa.

5. Help whenever possible

In the past two years, I can think of six people in my network that I’ve set up with job interviews. Most of these originated from my quarterly reach out emails. I asked, “How can I help you?” and meant it. When they told me of a need, I did everything possible to help them. I looked up people in my network that I knew was hiring (or weren’t but might be good fits) and introduced them. I thought of people who might benefit from their products and introduced them. If someone seems like they’d be a great guest on a podcast, I introduce them. I’m proud to say that at least ten of John Lee Dumas’ guests on the Entrepreneur on Fire podcast were referred by me. The secret to this technique is simple and yet few are willing to do it: Take. The. Time. You must be willing to spend the time and energy helping others. All it takes is time, though, and effort.

BONUS – #6. Use the Gmail plugin Rapportive

The single best thing I’ve done for my network is to install the Gmail plugin Rapportive. Now, when someone emails me, I have instant access to their social media profiles. I can easily connect on LinkedIn or Twitter. I see what activities they are involved in. I can keep track of recent emails with this person and record notes on them. Here’s what it looks like for my friend, Mark Sieverkropp. Rapportive Networking Plugin for GmailBONUS – #7-10. Free video tutorial

Get the four secret strategies I’ve used to develop a killer network on LinkedIn. The time commitment I can hear you thinking now. How long is this going to take? How about 5% of your work time? That means less than two hours each week. Two hours to get a job in days rather than months. Two hours to get great clients or new customers. Two hours to expand your reach farther than you ever thought possible. Two hours to link arms with others who are on the same path as you. Two hours to get connected and stay connected to fellow World Changers. There is nothing remarkable about any of these. They are tried and true methods for growing a network and keeping it warm. Most people know them already. And that’s the problem…they only know them. They don’t practice them. But that is great news for you! Because if you do these things, you will stand out. Networking takes commitment. A commitment to doing these things every week for a minimum of one hour. That’s it.

What techniques have you used to maintain a warm network? How has it benefited you?LinkedIn Training

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5 thoughts on “5 Ways to Grow Your Network and Keep it Warm

  1. Norma Maxwell says:

    Great tips, Matt. I’ll definitely be sharing this post this week. People do business with those they know and like, so relationship/network building is critical. Finding the time is always my challenge w/clients coming first–but of course, you don’t have the clients without the network in a business like mine, so it’s great to keep this top of mind. Thanks! ~N

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Hey Norma,

      One thing my wife pointed out that I left off was to calendar it.

      I sort of touch on it in the quarterly reach outs, but the most important thing to do is to make sure you put it on your calendar, or else it doesn’t get done.

      1. Norma Maxwell says:

        Good point, Matt–and so true. That’s a smart wife you have 🙂

  2. Great post and action steps Matt! You are a great connector. I like the reminder idea about emailing someone every quarter. Do you have a special program you use that organize your email list or just a standard excel sheet?

    1. Matt McWilliams says:

      Thanks Camilla!

      To answer your question, I use LinkedIn and a spreadsheet. So simple.

      Are there more efficient options? Probably, but it works for me and the way I do it.

      I suggest keeping it simple so you don’t let technology be a barrier.

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