The Importance of Networking
I spent the day visiting pawn shops and thrift stores with Steve Riaken. He’s from Connecticut and is in Phoenix for a few days while on a 90 day sourcing trip around the country. He left his home on December 1st and is a little more than halfway through his trip.
I had never met Steve in person before today. The only conversations we had were via Facebook posts or private messages. I don’t remember where I first learned of Steve, but it was probably 4-5 months ago. I started following him on Periscope and listening to him when he was sourcing. I was intrigued by his Pawn Shop hustle. I joined his Facebook group on Cyber Monday and have followed his posts there. When I saw that he was going to be in my area I put it on my calendar. About three weeks before he was scheduled to arrive I reached out to him and asked about getting together when he was in town. A few conversations later, we had the logistics worked out.
We met up at a Pawn shop around noon and made quick introductions. At that moment I realized my Facebook profile pic is a Snoopy Cartoon Character and immediately realized that I needed to change that ASAP! If you’re going to network via Facebook, you need to have a real, current, picture of yourself so people know who you are.
Over the course of the day we probably hit 9-10 pawn shops and three thrift stores. He scored some great finds and I learned his pawn shop hustle. Before we knew it, it was time for us to leave and meet up with a group of his followers for dinner. It was something we sort of quickly threw together and we were pleased with the intimate setting we had with just eight of us. I met six new people who are doing the same thing I am and we were sharing stories, exchanging ideas and brainstorming! I was a fun filled evening sharing ideas with stranger friends.
If someone that is a big deal posts that they are going to be in Anytown, USA, instead of asking the same old question “When are you coming to Mytown, USA?” (posters get so tired of those comments), find a time when they are going to be in a state close to you. Get in your car and drive 6-8 hours, check out airfares, spend a few bucks on a hotel room, make it happen. The chance of some of these Big Deal people coming to Yourtown, USA are pretty slim. One of them and 50 different states and the reality is they are never going to be in your hometown, so make it happen and show up where they are going to be.
As Steve and I were saying our good-byes in the parking lot we talked some more about the different aspects of our businesses. I told him of my plans to sell my personal belongings on eBay, downsize my life and my love for helping eBay newbies. I explained to him how I was documenting this life changing process via this blog and he immediately started feeding me ideas on how to promote my business, my brand, my name, etc. And he was excited and eager to help promote me!
Steve has a huge social media following. He lives on the other side of the country. He knows his stuff. He’s a big deal. And I got to spend an entire day hanging out with him because I reached out and made it happen. And more importantly, I have a new, genuine friend.