Bob Burg is a networking expert who is well known for his philosophy on relationships (from his book Endless Referrals): “All things being equal, people do business with, and refer business to people they know, like and trust.”
What are you doing every day to make sure more people know you, like you and trust you?
Your “Know” factor includes the size and quality of your network. Many professionals mistake the concept of their network for their circle of friends. While there is some overlap, your network must be much larger and broader than the group of people who are close to you (aka your friends.) If you are very well known to just a small group, that small group won’t have a large enough reach into the community to provide quality leads and information. They will also tend to be very similar to you; after all, you’re probably friends because you have the same interests or share professional history. You need diversity in your network so people can provide you with fresh perspective and new leads.
Your network should also reflect the quality of your connections. We care about who vouches for you and judge your quality as a candidate in part by your friends, your champions, and what organizations you belong to. Social networks make a great platform for letting people know what you care about; you can update your LinkedIn profile to reflect the organizations and causes you support.
Your “Like” factor includes what people say when they refer people to you. Do they make you sound warm, engaged and generous with your time and advice? When people say things like “He’s very busy, but he may be able to see you” or “You might need to call her two or three times before you get a response,” they may be commending your competence but not your likeability. Your responsiveness and willingness to give before you get will contribute to your reputation.
Your “Trust” factor includes how good your advice is (how competent you are) and how people observe your values in action. Admitting mistakes and taking responsibility when something goes wrong. Following through on what you say you will do. Even small things, like being on time for meetings, increase your credibility among your peer group. How you contribute through your community service is a big indicator of how you run your business or career. Missing deadlines or not following through on commitments is a sure way to hurt your own credibility, even if “it’s just a volunteer position.” People assume that how you do anything is how you do everything.
What could you do today to build your Know, Like or Trust factors?