by Ally C
In any situation, the people that you have connections with are just as important as the skills that you have and the knowledge that you know. Being able to network yourself to the Gurus of your niche will give you the leverage in your own endeavors that you could otherwise not do on your own.
Gurus have already spent a lot of their time building their credibility in their chosen niche and have plenty of invaluable knowledge to share with others, especially those who are just beginning to explore the same niche market. By expanding your network of your niche’s gurus, you’ll be able to save time, money, and a lot of frustrations from doing ‘trial and error’. You will also have the advantage of applying their proven methods, or combine those that are applicable to create something unique that works for you.
Just as people can say a lot about you by knowing who your friends are, being connected with a certain guru says a lot about your character, your standing, and your worth. Say, in order to get prospects to purchase your products and patronize your brand, it is helpful that your market knows that you are somehow connected with a preferred and trusted brand. This way, you’ll be perceived to be at least of the same caliber with those that they have already tried, tested, and liked. Networking with gurus in your chosen niche makes it easier for you to establish yourself and somehow be accepted and regarded as one of them.
So how do you begin to network with the gurus of your niche and let them help you in becoming one your own? Here are some helpful tips:
Embrace your Niche. The best way to begin associating with gurus is to build up your own credibility and show that you’re very well informed and competent in your chosen field. This will allow you to get more from all your networking efforts and help you set up your standing in your chosen niche.
Know what you can offer differently, your reasons for having chosen your niche, and why it is important to you, to everyone, and everything else. You’ll learn more about your customer’s needs, can serve them better, and — most importantly — naturally realize that the niche market is actually bigger than you initially thought.
Focus on building relationships. Unfortunately, most people are more obsessed with the opportunities they are after than those people whom they can get it from. Know you purpose, but don’t forget sincerity. Networking is not about who gets the most contacts or business cards, it’s about building relationships.
When networking with gurus in your niche, make fewer statements and ask more questions. Understand that you have more to learn from them than they from you. And while you can get most out of the relationship when you have something to offer too, genuine interest in the other person—even flattery—is a form of openhandedness and goes a long way when you’re networking.
Be persistent without being forceful. Gurus can’t be expected to immediately respond to you, or accept your connection right away. Don’t be aggressive, but don’t back out; keep making subtle attempts. And don’t be offended if they don’t acknowledge you right away – gurus often have people trying to network with them. You need to be respectful, and prove them your worth.
Utilize the Internet, especially Social Media. Websites, Blogs, Podcasts, Videos, Forums; there are plenty of new ways to network today. And with the rising popularity of various social media, connecting with people has become a lot easier. It can be very helpful to spend time on learning how it works because it’s a great way of meeting gurus and other people in your niche and conversing with them. As people discuss their concerns and ask questions, you can showcase your proficiency in your answer. The more active you are in participating in discussions, the more you raise your reputation as a trustworthy authority. Starting a website that caters to your niche will also help you get the attention of the gurus. Acknowledging them and their bodies of works increases your chances of getting a response from them. Hopefully, in no time, you’ll create a lot of connections that wills earn you the respect of the gurus in your industry.
Attend events. Your goal is to meet new people and network with as many gurus of your niche as possible, and you can’t do this if you don’t put yourself out there. Actively seek out events to attend. Look for conventions, corporate retreats, seminars, trade shows, and training events.
Know what kind of event you are going to and the profile of the people attending. It is essential that you show up to a social gathering prepared to handle the topics of conversation. Not to brag about the expanse of your knowledge on your niche, but more to be identified as someone competent in his industry. Look for people you know, but don’t stick with them the entire time. Learn to introduce yourself to others with confidence, and remember to always smile.
Build up your own image. If you build a good reputation in your niche industry, you can feel rest assured that your efforts will be noticed by the gurus at large. Your image will often be compared to that of your contemporaries and be held on display for other people’s criticisms. If you earn a respectable following, you will be able to market yourself quite successfully, and maybe even become a guru yourself.
Networking is not as easy as most people realize. It is a mutually – beneficial process that occurs through a course of time; it cannot be rushed. Keep in mind that the main objective in your marketing efforts is to capture your niche audience’s attention, particularly the gurus of the industry. When you are successful in associating together with gurus and other like-minded individuals, through long-term business relationship building, you become walking, talking advertisements for one another.
Ally is part of the team that manages Australian Credit Cards, a free no annual fee credit cards comparison service in Australia. Before joining ACC, she was a Media Planner with McCann Worldgroup Philippines, Inc., with award-winning executions, including the Levi’s 501 “Live Unbuttoned” global campaign.