Judy Robinett is the founder of JRobinett Enterprises and author of How to Be a Power Connector: The 5+50+100 Rule for Turning Your Business Network into Profits. Robinett is a business thought leader who is known as “the woman with the titanium digital Rolodex.” She has been profiled in Fast Company, Forbes, Venture Beat, Huffington Post, and Bloomberg Businessweek as a sterling example of the new breed of “super connectors” who use their experience and networks to accelerate growth and enhance profitability. In her more than 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur and corporate leader, Robinett has served as the CEO of both public and private companies and in management positions at Fortune 500 companies.
- Who is Judy Robinett?
Judy went to school in a small town in Idaho and always loved making things happen and solving problems. She learned how to break out of her shell but found she couldn’t survive in the corporate world. She saw men all around her getting promoted and making more money and decided she needed to understand what was happening. She learned about the connections those people had and the importance of knowing the right people.
Most networking groups are a waste of time. You have to be careful what room you get in. The people with money tend to be in different kinds of groups. There is no lack of money in the world, the trick is figuring out who you need to know and coming up with a plan to get to know them.
The thing Judy found out is the millionaires and billionaires are just like everybody else. They have problems and if you can solve their problem, you go to the front of the line.
- Networking Strategies
Learn to talk to strangers. Only 12% of the population is clinically shy, but over half of us believe ourselves to be shy. The two tricks to talking to strangers are to ask a good question, or offer a heartfelt compliment. People want others to care about them and you never know who the other person might be.
The common advice of keep your head down, work hard, and people will notice you doesn’t work.
Judy didn’t figure out that networking was something she wanted to learn until she was 30. During her journey, she learned that she could add value to the people by connecting them to each other. After realizing that owning a business was the path to success for her, Judy nearly went broke. That was when she heard words that would change her life from her bankruptcy lawyer “They can break you, but they can’t eat you.”
If bad things hadn’t happened in your past, there is a good chance that you would be in a worse situation today.
Sometimes it makes sense to explore some expensive hobbies instead of trying to squeeze value out of networking events.
The secret to networking strategies is to get to know people and build a relationship. The goal is to get the second date, not close in the first conversation.
Joining a not-for-profit is another good option. Charities often have the top local business leaders as part of their board and they need people to help. Everybody’s problem is someone else’s solution.
All the people you need to meet probably have either a banker, a lawyer, or an accountant.
The good ol boy network is being chipped away at one day at a time. In nearly every town there is an incubator and wealthy people are always looking for a good deal.
If your story is good and it’s a good opportunity, people are going to want to meet you and talk with you.
Don’t ask for money, ask for advice. Make sure you’re with the right investor, not everyone invests in your niche.
There is no perfect platform to connect investors with people who are looking for money, that’s why we have so many intermediary groups and have to do the leg work. Social media can make it easier to reach people as long as you’re gracious and kind.
People remember small acts and gestures of kindness. Recommend a book, send them some research or information that might be helpful, get to know them and find out how you can add value to whatever they’re doing.
- Judy’s Takeaway
If you’re going to raise money, Google your local angel groups and reach out to them. 75% of angel investors invest locally. Call your chamber of commerce and ask them who you should talk to that may be able to help you with your project. Talk to two strangers this week and start a conversation.
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