Power Connecting: Networking Skills for the Sales Professional

A few years ago I attended a private conference in New York where Esther Dyson, a prominent angel investor and philanthropist, was speaking. I had admired Esther for a long time and wanted to meet her. At at the end of the conference a long line of people lined up to talk with her. I knew that Esther specialized in energy investing, so when I got to the front of the line, I said hello, mentioned two energy deals that I knew about, told her I admired her passion for investing, gave her my card, and said, “It’s a pleasure to speak with you.” A few short sentences and I was done. That night I had a LinkedIn invitation from Esther with a request to stay in touch.

How many times have you wanted to create an instant connection with someone and set the stage for further contact? These skills, which are the basis of successful networking, are critical for any sales professional. After all, your contacts and connections are your most valuable assets. It’s people who have the answers, deals, money, access, power, and influence you need to get what you want. They buy what your business sells—or your whole business—and they do the favors that make your path to success easier. Like a “power grid,” relationships help get things done faster and more effectively.

For the past 25 years I have been studying and creating high-value, strategic relationships that give businesspeople instant access to the inner circles of influence. What I l have learned has helped me go from being a shy social worker in Idaho to my current career–putting venture capital funds and angel investors together with tech start-up companies. I’m called “the woman with the titanium digital Rolodex,” and my connections include governors, billionaires, notable authors, and some of the biggest figures in business today. What has made the difference? I don’t network: I power connect.

In power connecting, you create a small network (about 150) of high-quality relationships. You make your network wide, deep, and robust (i.e., it includes the right resources, involves the right people, and cultivates the right action steps). Finally, you follow value-adding strategies to develop your network relationships, creating greater success for everyone. Power connecting creates high-value relationships and maximizes your network’s effectiveness.