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20 Professionals You NEED in Your Network

February 08, 20245 min read

When it comes to networking it's vital to remember that it's about Give AND Take. Obviously, everyone starts to network to GET referrals. What great networkers realize is that getting happens so much easier when they GIVE referrals too. I'm not saying it's a two way street, I'm just saying it's like every other relationship you've ever had. If you want to get a little, you'd better be willing to give it up too.

With this in mind I've created a list of people that should absolutely be in your network REGARDLESS of what business you're in. This list is in no particular order and is off the top of my head (recognize that I've been thinking about/teaching and living a networked life for almost 20 years. So this is kind of like that band that's been playing together weekly for 8 years before becoming an “overnight” success).

Here’s the list:

  1. Accountant- Preferably a CPA- Ok, so this is an easy one to start with for two reasons: 1. It starts with the letter A ;-) 2. When it comes to trusted advisors, few people are more trusted.

  2. Attorney- While we're on the topics of A and Trust, attorneys seem to follow suit. Don’t worry about being connected to ALL the different types of attorneys. They practically invented networking and will refer the right one based on needs.

  3. Banker- I promise this alphabetical order thing will stop…soon. A good business banker is very aware of the needs of their client. They are also usually well connected in the community.

  4. Telecom- When it comes to “feet on the street” the telecom industry has it beat. Good telecom sales reps, whether they’re selling Phone Service, Internet Access or even Mobile phones, HAVE to talk to a lot of businesses every day. If they make it a priority, they can ferret out a lot of opportunities for their network.

  5. Recruiter- There are many types of recruiters that focus on all kinds of positions, industries and specialties. They form great relationships with hiring managers and sometimes H.R. departments. Word to the wise: Recruiters find people for jobs. Don’t expect a recruiter to help you get placed unless their client has a need.

  6. Staffing- Sometimes staffing firms find jobs for people. Not always but sometimes. Staffing, especially in the “temporary” sense is a great economic indicator. We haven’t gone into or out of a recession without a significant change in temporary staffing.

  7. Business broker- A good business broker will have a ton of knowledge about who’s doing what in a specific industry and/or geography. Always good to know when someone is about to buy/sell a company.

  8. Insurance- There are many types of Insurance: Health, Life, Property and Casualty, Business and more. You’re wondering which one to connect with? The answer is all of the above. They each provide value to their clients. It’s also very important for them to connect with one another.

  9. Chamber Director- Everyone knows there are chambers based on geography. Did you know there are chambers based on race and industry as well? It’s a good idea to get very connected to the Directors and Membership leads at the chambers that are most relevant to you. Why? They know everyone in the chamber.

  10. Financial Advisor- A trusted finance person ranks right up there with an accountant. They have ALL kinds of sway. They are also always out prospecting.

  11. Software/Web Developer- There is a big difference between being a web designer who may make a 3 page brochure type website (most any marketing company will have that now) and someone who can develop a website that is E-commerce ready, ties to your inventory or other software that can help you run your business. Great developers are hard to find.

  12. Computer Hardware- Whether it’s a dead battery on a laptop, a messed up printer or a virus that gets through the firewall and shuts down the whole network, computer problems happen. It’s vital to have a good tech person who can serve your customers.

  13. Marketing- This is such a broad category anymore. It encompasses: branding, advertising, design work, digital, social media and so much more. From my experience it’s easier and more beneficial to partner with smaller, more nimble firms than the older and larger ones.

  14. Public Relations/PR- This is different than marketing. Marketing totally focuses on the P. Any good PR person will tell you that it’s the R that actually brings home the bacon.

  15. Coaches- There are as many types of coaches as there are types of recruiters. The key here is to find one or two you like. Good coaches are very well connected in the coaching community. They’re also abundant minded and are totally cool with referring clients to the right coach for them.

  16. Office Supply/Equipment- Like telecom, folks selling office equipment and supplies are out beating the streets. There’s something kind of fun about walking into a company uninvited and getting the appointment or even a sale.

  17. Office Furniture/Space Planner- This is another great group for economic indication. When businesses are buying lots of furniture and filling up their space it’s a good thing. When they’re downsizing their office, that’s less good.

  18. Realtor- Everyone wants to live the American Dream and home ownership is certainly part of that. A good realtor is really ensconced in their community and talks to many people a day. When someone is moving to a new “hood” they are likely to need a lot of services too.

  19. Mortgage- Really hard to buy a new house without having one of these. They have the same sort of knowledge that a realtor does and occasionally will have the same type of relationship.

  20. Commercial Realtor- I saved one of the most important ones for last (well, important if your B2B, anyway). These guys are hunters. They are knowledgeable about what’s going on in the business community. And they know about big moves before most everyone else. When a company moves, it’s a big opportunity for many people on this list.

So that’s the list. These are the 20 that I think are important.

Sorry if your business isn’t on here. I’m sure I could make a case for another 10-20 easily.

What would you add?

How many of these folks are you connected to?

Who in your network in these categories would you recommend?

If you’d like help getting connected to more people or are interested in a customized networking strategy for your business, I may be a good guy to talk to about that ;-)

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Terry Bean

Terry Bean is full of ideas, tactics, and connections you can leverage to begin living your best life now.

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