ROR can lead to better ROI
The term Return on Relationship (ROR) has been around for a decade, but many people still do not understand what it means. It is probably the most valuable thing within your organization for improving your return on investment, so it’s time to start capitalizing on it.
Use your network for mutually beneficial outcomes. If you never help others, why should you expect them to help you? You must be willing to take time out of your day to reach out to see what pain points they are facing or what frustrates them. Be empathetic. If you can offer a solution, do so.
Reach out and help others even if how they can help you is not apparent. You never know where someone will end up years from now. I had an engineer go above and beyond to help me with a relay problem. Several years later we were both at different companies. I saw his name on an email string reaching out to find a sales contact. I remember what he did for me all those years earlier, so I made the right connection for him. As a result, his company was able to land a sale just a few short months later.
Sometimes the best thing you can give someone is an introduction to someone else. You never know who someone knows that might be able to help you. After years of trying to penetrate a new client, we were not making progress. It was even discussed that perhaps we should realign resources to other clients. In a last ditch effort, I called a friend who worked at the company to ask his opinion of our position. He informed me that we had a major detractor that was very vocal against us. He was nice enough to make an introduction with him. A few calls and face to face meetings later, which my friend facilitated, we were able to resolve all of the concerns. It was so successful that this person became an advocate for us. I owe my friend big-time.
Speaking of owing friends, sometimes you should call in favors. After all, why are you building this repository of things you have done for others if you are not willing to ask for help in return? I recently called in a favor that made several tens of thousands of dollars difference for my business unit..
Everyone has heard the phrase “it’s who you know, not what you know.” In engineering technical knowledge and abilities are important, but if you truly want to take your career to the next level you must be willing to invest time in your network. It might not seem like it, but your ROI is tied to your ability to utilize you ROR.
For ideas and tips on ways to network, check out this previous article.