You’ve probably heard the saying, “Your network is your net worth.” It’s the truth. Especially now, in the strange times of COVID-19 when everything’s moving online.
I know they also say, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” Well, that’s true, but let me tell you something even more profound: it’s who knows you.
Would you agree? You can network with plenty of people who don’t sharpen or enrich your life. I have nothing against the average entrepreneur, of course. It’s just that you can’t build strong relationships with every person you meet.
Some people like you immediately. Some take a while. Some like you at first, but then fade away … and some won’t like you at all. Networking is a complicated game. People bring all kinds of backgrounds and experiences into it. That’s why it’s not a "science."
I’ll be honest - this is true in any human group. Birds of a feather, flock together. So, some of what we cover here happens in mastermind groups as well. If you want to network and build relationships, be prepared - there will always be people who gravitate away from you.
Having said that, my experience shows that online mastermind groups create huge opportunities to build powerful business relationships. It’s happened too many times in Iron Sharpens Iron to be a coincidence.
If you want to build a more powerful network, it’s a great time to apply to join one of our groups.
Why Masterminds Accelerate Relationships
Let’s start with another popular saying: “People who pay, pay attention.”
A long time ago, I offered to teach Financial Peace University for free to members of the church I go to in Nashville. I was going to buy all the materials and give them away. I mentioned that one day to Dave Ramsey, and he told me, “Big A, you need to charge for it."
Now, Dave wasn’t worried that the money I’d spend on his course materials was going to break the bank. Still, being focused as he is on others, I wondered why he would say that.
He went on to explain how people show up for the first lesson or two … but slowly, they’d drop off, if they had no skin in the game. And I learned that lesson in a way I’d never forget. I chose not to listen to Dave’s advice. Sure enough, more than half my class was gone by Week Three.
Networking runs on similar fuel. You can go to “free” groups in your local town, where you’ll run into the “usual suspects.” They attend to socialize, and make sales. The most it costs them to participate is a $15 lunch, and some of them won’t hesitate to complain about the food. You’ll find some good people in these groups … but you’ll have to do a lot of digging.
Masterminds online, however, bring you into the company of entrepreneurs from all over the country, or the world. Your membership costs as much or more as a car payment. It requires a commitment and a budget, and you need to be able to give value as well as receive it.
If that’s what you need to get into a mastermind, what do you think are the odds you’ll run into other high-caliber entrepreneurs, just like you? I’d say they’re pretty good.
Another reason masterminds take networking to a higher level depends on their focus. In Iron Sharpens Iron, we deliberately cover both professional and personal development. Through my experience as a Christian life coach, I believe you can’t have one without the other.
A cultural mistake we’ve made for a long time is trying to separate these two … why? To quote another great saying, “No matter where you go … there you are.” Do entrepreneurs suddenly get a pass on business and personal matters affecting each other? Of course not.
But if you seize the opportunity to deal with both business and personal, members’ roots grow deeper than average. That’s the point - it’s hard to build a positive business relationship with someone, when you’re unwilling to share other parts of your life.
How To Go Deep In Masterminds
If you’re paying hundreds or thousands of dollars to be in masterminds, I hope you don’t think you can flip on the sales switch once you’re in. If you can’t prepare yourself to play a different game, you should save your time and money.
On the other hand, get ready for a marathon of reaching out to people, scheduling Zoom or phone meetings, interacting on social media and participating in the culture of the mastermind.
In Iron Sharpens Iron, our most successful members are very consistent in reaching out and building relationships with others. They’re active, and they show leadership. They tend to know more members personally, on average. They’re constantly bringing connections, introductions and acts of service to the tribe.
So here’s my “quick list” of things you can do once you join a mastermind, to build multiple relationships and fast-track your networking to greater success.
- Reach out to each individual member and schedule a one-on-one
- Interview members for your podcast or YouTube channel
- Provide leadership in a forum, by teaching on a subject
- Introduce members who don’t currently know each other
- Serve on a leadership committee
- Volunteer to facilitate a group or breakout session
- Arrange to meet with members in different cities / countries when you travel
- Share valuable resources, products or services in the private members’ area
- Support members’ charity activities by donating time, talent or treasure
- Support other members by writing positive reviews of them or their companies
There are so many ways to do this! They’re all things I’ve done in groups that strengthened my connection with people. And if you’re wondering, I never did any of this “in exchange” for the opportunity to pitch a product, or with some other ulterior motive.
But did that stop money from flowing to me? Man, I couldn’t stop it from flowing! Generosity reaps reciprocity. So be generous, thoughtful and proactive when you join a mastermind group. It’ll come back to you in spades.