Effective networking doesn’t have to be time consuming or difficult says George C. Fraser, Chairman and CEO of FraserNet Inc. In addition to writing books about networking and success, Fraser also creates opportunities for African Americans to gather in a professional, educational and inspirational setting. Fraser is the founder of the annual PowerNetworking Conference, which will be held this year in Atlanta on June 25-27 at the Marriott Atlanta Marquis.
“If you want to learn networking skills, the art and science of building relationships so you can take your life and your career to the next level the PowerNetworking conference is the only conference in America that focuses three days on providing you the contacts that you need and teaches you the skills, the art and science of networking,” says Fraser. “If people think networking is important, that’s where they should be to learn how to do it.”
Why is networking important?
In an interview with TNJ.com Fraser said he learned the importance of making friends first in high school and then when he landed his first job in a grocery store sorting bottles in a basement. “I learned at a very early age that if you wanted to get things done, if you wanted to be popular you had to be nice to other people. Other people were then nice to you. You do favors for them, they do favors for you and you got more things done.”
While the grocery store position was his first official job, always an entrepreneur at heart Fraser also had a baby sitting service as a teen. This is when he realized if he did a good job and was friendly, his clients would recommend him to others and his business would grow. Also Fraser observed his father who was a cab driver and immigrant from Georgetown, Guyana. “What I noticed about Dad is that he was very, very nice to people,” said Fraser. “They liked him because he liked them. I’m sure that planted a seed in my mind.”
Networking sounds easy for those who are “people” oriented, but how about those who are reluctant and feel that networking is a chore? Fraser states firmly that everyone should learn to appreciate the power and importance of relationships. “I don’t believe there is anything you can get done on your own, by yourself in a vacuum.” Building relationships is not just a necessity, Fraser says it’s also a pleasure. “Understand that 85% of all the joy and satisfaction that you will ever achieve in your life will come from your interactions with other people. It will not come from your money,” he said.
Networking according to Fraser is a discipline anyone can learn. It’s something he does every single day of the week. “Because I’ve been doing this for 25 years I’ve built a massive network of incredible relationships. There’s almost no one that I am not connected to at least by one or two degrees.”
Formula for successful networking
Fraser shared what he calls his “formula for successful networking” which encompasses four steps a day.
• Make four phone calls a day to friends. From the more than 800 phone numbers in his cell, Fraser picks four friends and calls them, not to ask for anything, but just to stay connected and to see what’s going on in their lives. And he asks if there is anything he can do to help them, which is the key to networking according to Fraser, being helpful to people.
• Send out four notes a day to personal friends either written or via email.
• Make four phone calls to new contacts. These are the people you’d like to cultivate a relationship with. “We all have new people in our rolodex who we want to get to know,” says Fraser.
• Make four sales calls every day. “Everybody is selling something,” says Fraser. “Whether you’re selling somebody on being on the church board or buying something from you. I make four sales calls every single day.” It’s not just about making money. Fraser first tries to see if there’s anyway he can help the person he’s calling. “I find a way to add value,” he says.
“If you do that [follow the formula] everyday, you’ll have one of the most incredible networks on the planet,” says Fraser. “If that’s hard for anybody, then I can predict what that person’s life will be like. It’s going to be miserable because they’re not going to have any friends. They’re not going to have a network.”
This year’s PowerNetworking conference in Atlanta will feature a lineup of elite speakers and celebrities including Jeff Johnson, Les Brown, Ed Gordon, Dr. Julianne Malveaux, Bev Smith, Dr. Farrah Gray and George Curry.
Keeping in mind the struggles so many are facing during the economic crunch the theme for this year’s conference is “Access Today, Success for Tomorrow. Succeeding In Tough Times.” Also the conference will feature a National Town Hall meeting where a “10 Point Economic Recovery Plan for Black America” will be presented.
George C. Fraser is the author of Click: Ten Truths to Building Extraordinary Relationships and Success Runs In Our Race: The Complete Guide to Effective Networking in the African-American Community as well as other networking and business books. Fraser is a graduate of New York University and received his executive training at the Amos Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College. He’s held leadership positions with Procter & Gamble, the United Way, and Ford Motor Company.
For more information visit www.frasernet.com.