Networking lessons from NASCAR:
- Self-promotion is necessary. Carl Edwards got his ride by attending races and handing out his business card to everyone. This didn't get him the job (his skills did), but would they have known to look at him if he hadn't been out there actively promoting himself? If Carl Edwards isn't too good to self-promote, neither are you.
- Trust matters. Whether it's someone you can trust as a drafting partner, knowing who will go with you when it's time to break to the outside line, or believing you can drag race to the finish without him wrecking you (Jeff Burton); trust is important. In business networking, we're building trust when we work on our relationships.
- Friends will help you. Once you've built relationships with good people who believe in you, they will come through with help when you need it. Just ask Kirk Shelmerdine (a former Dale Earnhardt crew chief) who qualified for his first-ever Daytona 500 in 2006 on tires bought with donations from Earnhardt fans. If you've come through for them, your business friends will come through for you.
- Loyalty is everything. Jeffrey Gitomer says that customer satisfaction, but loyalty is everything. NASCAR fans are as loyal as they get. Just look at the products they buy, the clothes they wear, and the places they go. Fans know how to show their esprit d'corps. In return (or perhaps this created it) NASCAR is the most fan-centric sport of any. How can you transform your networking friends to networking fans? Are you fan-centric enough?