Two decades ago, my dream was to create a business based on my values of passion, integrity and delivery, a business that would attract the world’s top-performing retail brands into my portfolio. I started with no money, experience or influential black book of contacts. I didn’t even know how to write a press release. What I did start with was the self-belief I could make it happen. My dedication to attracting the right people into my network is what resulted in TORSTAR's formidable reputation and partnerships with the world’s leading retail brands.
By understanding the power of three coffee dates a week, I established a global network of referrals that secured top-performing clients Zara, Nespresso, Shopbop, Seafolly and more recently Victoria’s Secret and Drew Barrymore’s Flower Beauty. Anyone can follow these simple tips and thrive by connecting with three other people each week and inviting them for a virtual coffee date…
Here are tips for building your global network – even during a lockdown.
Before you start reaching out to your network, your personal brand must reflect who you are and it must align with the people you want to attract. Your LinkedIn and social media presence matters. You cannot attract influential individuals when your LinkedIn photo is you sipping on a martini. This isn’t Bumble. As your brand and career evolve, you need to update this content to reflect where you’re at in life. Personal brand positioning is key to your success – it works as a super attractor.
The power of face-to-face connection will build your network. Facetime, Zoom and Skype are powerful tool’s that enable people to connect despite the current situation. People like to see who they’re dealing with and connect in person. They want to know you’re willing to take the time and effort to get to know them.
The most powerful thing you can do in life is to believe in yourself. Some of my first calls when I started TORSTAR were to the most respected journalists in Australia. I remember people saying, ‘Tory who?’ and hanging up on me. I never gave up because I believed in the power of what I was creating. I knew these people would call me when I had something powerful for them to write about and they did. It’s how I built my network.
The most powerful step is to understand who’s already in your network. The next step is to target three people a week to build your network and invite them for a virtual coffee date. Choose someone you know, someone in your professional network and someone outside of your comfort zone. When I started TORSTAR, I chose to connect with professionals that would enable my business to deliver on projects we were engaged to promote. I ensured the topic was relevant and started cold calling people and meeting them for coffee. Today I connect over social media platforms and networking events – the result is the same. People love connecting if they can see a relationship forming for mutual benefit.
Stay front of mind and stay relevant. Meet new people and be open to new opportunities. Most importantly, trust and enjoy the process.
Consider people who’ll shape your professional and personal life goals—they need to fit your future, not your past— don’t be afraid to aim high and be prepared for a YES!! Pick up the phone. leverage email, LinkedIn, or request an introduction from a mutual contact (this gives you immediate credibility). It’s how the best professional connections are made. Make a list of who you’d like to meet and start connecting. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Vibrate at the level you wish to be at, and you’ll attract like-minded people.
Building a global network is never about you. Know what projects your contacts are working across and stay connected with relevant follow-ups to check in with them. Congratulate them on their wins. A simple birthday wish or link to relevant industry news will keep you front of mind. Help them succeed, because someday soon, they will help you succeed too.