The recipe for financial success has many ingredients. Some ingredients are more important than others. But there is one ingredient that all wealthy people put in their success recipe all the time and in abundance: fanatical attention to developing strong, long-lasting relationships.
Building valuable relationships is one of the cornerstones to financial success. Relationships must be nurtured, every day, if you hope to become financially successful. You must treat relationships like gold. They are the currency of the wealthy. Each strong relationship is like money in the bank.
You must build credits and make deposits into this relationship bank account, just as you would in your financial bank account. The more deposits you make (the more you reach out to help or communicate with your relationships) the larger your account grows and the greater the likelihood that one or more of your relationships will drop opportunity luck into your lap.
Wealthy people are master networkers because they have learned that accumulating wealth and networking are mutually inclusive. You cannot create wealth with poor networking skills. Good networking skills create opportunities that absolutely will translate into more customers or clients and, of course, more money.
If you are seeking more income you must develop good networking skills and process networking into your life on a daily basis. You simply cannot become rich without good networking skills. Those who fail to grasp this truth are relegated to getting by in life. If you want to become wealthy learn how to network.
Four strategies wealthy people use to network effectively
1. Happy Birthday Calls
Wealthy people reach out to their contacts and their families on their birthdays. At a minimum, happy birthday calls keep your relationships on life support by requiring you to reach out to your relationships at least once a year. After a few years approximately 20% of your relationships will begin to reciprocate.
I call it the reciprocal happy birthday call. The reciprocal happy birthday call takes your relationship off life support. It’s an acknowledgement that your contact values the relationship enough that they feel compelled to invest in it by calling you on your birthday.
2. Hello Calls
Wealthy people call their contacts religiously at least once every other month just to say hello. They are not directly looking for anything from their contacts. This is all about information gathering. It’s a reconnaissance mission. You are calling to gain intelligence on your contact.
The more information you can obtain about your contact’s family, friends and life, the more valuable that relationship becomes.
3. Life Event Calls
Wealthy people do not let a good life event go by without some type of acknowledgment. An example would be the graduation of your contact’s child from high school or college. Another example might be the birth of a child in your contact’s family. Still another may be a religious celebration (i.e. Confirmation, First Holy Communion, Barmizvah or Batmizvah). Lastly, the medical life event call in which your contact or your contact’s family experiences some type of medical issue and you reach out to them to find out how they are doing.
Wealthy people attend wakes, funerals, weddings, graduations, birthday parties, celebratory functions speaking engagements of their contacts. Life event calls put your relationships on steroids and grow the roots to the relationship tree very quickly.
This is the best way to grow strong relationships. Wealthy people volunteer and network an average of five or more hours per month.
Such participation might involve religious organizations, charitable organizations, civic groups, business groups, non-profit groups etc. When you volunteer your time in your community you gain name recognition. It exposes you to more people and expands your relationship base. Participating in these organizations also allows you to showcase your skills often in an amicable atmosphere. When you do a good job people notice and that notice very often translates into future business opportunities.
People want to do business with people they know, like and trust. What better way to make that happen than by joining a charitable or network group.
Some final points I’d like to make. No one is successful on their own. Success does not happen in a vacuum. The most successful people in the world are part of an expansive and strong network of other successful people. Good relationships don’t simply manifest themselves out of thin air. They are the byproduct of investing time and energy in growing and nurturing the right relationships.
Not everyone you meet is worthy of your investment. You need to be selective in choosing who will be a part of your relationship network. The wealthiest invest in relationship givers and avoid relationships takers like the plague.
Thomas Corley is author of Rich Habits – The Daily Success Habits of Wealthy Individuals and founder of The Rich Habits Institute. Thomas is a Certified Public Accountant, a Certified Financial Planner and President of Cerefice & Company.
Featured photo by denise oz
Originally published 9/26/12 and updated 6/7/13.