Two Things To Consider About How Your Network Sees You
How you are seen in your network is a very important thing and you can be seen in one of two ways:
The first is as a service provider. You have a service that people pay for and, when the pain point or problem you address through your service comes up, your network thinks of you. As a service provider you are like a hammer. A hammer has a very specific function and you reach for it when you know you need to put nails in something. Then the hammer goes right back to where it was and, in most cases, you won’t use it again until you are looking to hammer nails again. In fact, if you don’t need to hammer nails again for a few months you may not pick up that hammer at all. The same goes for a service provider. Once someone has provided a service, our hope is that we won’t need them again. No one wants to exterminator to have to come more than a few times right?
The second way you can be seen by your network is as a resource. Yes, you have a service that you provide but there are also additional things that you do that are valuable. You may make introductions, host gatherings, know a bunch of other service providers, or give good advice. This part of your professional persona is like a tool box. Whenever something is broken, you reach for the toolbox and find the right tool to fix the problem (including that hammer). Once you are seen as a resource, people want to see you again because being around you has a certain level of value, whether you are providing a service or not. Like that trusty tool box, you are always there providing a range of solutions to the problem.
When it comes to relationships, you want to be more than a hammer. If someone sees you as only good to call during one specific time then you’re only going to get a call at that specific time. If someone sees you as a resource they’ll call on you more often and you’ll have more opportunities to get to know them. This is not to say that you should be a jack of all trades, it just means that you should have other things you can help with outside of your area of expertise. Many of the most successful business people I know are seen as resources in addition to being service providers. There are plenty of people in this world who need hammers but, given the choice, most are going to be more inclined to get a toolbox full of tools.
So take some time today to ask yourself if you are a service provider or a resource. If you find that you are a hammer, how can you add more to become a tool box?
Your network is waiting.
Show them what else you can do.