The overall objective is to become wealthy, or a lot wealthier. By dissecting how people have created personal fortunes (net worth of a few million reaching to the billions), duplicable patterns emerge. One determination of many self-made millionaires is that they’re street smart. In fact, street smarts largely define most self-made millionaires. Many of them are also intelligent, but this characteristic is not nearly as crucial to building a significant fortune as being able to see and play the angles.

A couple of standard deviations out on the positive side, street smarts become the high art of low cunning. Being cunning entails being clever and crafty and, whenever possible, wrapping ingenuity in subtlety. Low cunning takes that up a few levels: You’re more guarded and wily as well as much more imaginative. Taking low cunning to an intense level of proficiency transforms it into high art. You don’t need this extreme level of proficiency to be able to create a flood of new affluent clients from centers of influence. However, you will need to play the angles.

To play the angles, self-made millionaires have to have a very solid and often deep understanding of the people they’re dealing with. Thus, a detailed and comprehensive analysis of centers of influence is the fulcrum to the effectiveness of this framework. To continue playing the angles requires knowing how to most efficaciously incentivize
the centers of influence.

The Street-Smart Networking Equation
In determining the networking best practices of self-made millionaires, we’ve been able to systematize their methodologies and procedures, producing a potent, comprehensive framework. We’ve summarized their approach in the following street-smart networking equation:

 Aspirations + Agenda +
Assessments + Alignment =
Advocates -> Achievements

Let’s define each of the variables in the equation.

Set high aspirations. Street-smart networking starts with your aspirations. A person’s aspirations can readily change as circumstances change. Moreover, while the larger goals such as becoming substantially wealthier tend to remain consistent, the interim objectives are usually prone to revisions in order to be responsive to changing situational considerations.

When the focus is on cultivating centers of influence, you need to be as specific as possible about the numbers. Examples of these numbers include how many centers of influence providing—on average—how many new affluent clients, generating what kind of revenues.

Self-made millionaires, compared to the population at large, have notably greater and often loftier goals. For them, their high aspirations help foster a virtuous cycle of motivation and actions.

Advance your agenda. With many of your goals in place, you need to think through what you have to do and prepare. In effect, you need to put together a plan. Desiring a larger and wealthier affluent clientele, and sourcing them from centers of influence, you must now delineate the activities that will enable you to achieve these goals.

There are many components to your agenda to cultivate centers of influence. Examples of these components include how you’ll initially access centers of influence and the way you’ll generate high levels of involvement.

Self-made millionaires prove to be very good at determining what it’s going to take to enable them to achieve their aspirations. They often learn by being astute, lifelong learners coupled with being constructively self-critical.

Conduct assessments. In-depth evaluations of centers of influence are foundational to the framework. It’s essential to move past all presumptions and truly understand the motivations and limitations, the opportunities and obstacles for each individual potential center of influence.

There are a number of ways to conduct assessments of centers of influence. What’s most important is to make sure you cover all the areas that will enable you to take decisive action. For example, being able to drill down on their critical concerns regularly proves to be instrumental in winning them over.

The ability to ably evaluate others is at the very core of the often extraordinary networking success of many self-made millionaires. They will regularly make extreme efforts to develop broad and deep understanding of the people they’re working with, and this goes triply for the people in their core network.

Ensure alignment. When you know what they’re striving to accomplish and have identified the centers of influence who can prove helpful, there’s then the need for alignment. There needs to be a “set of mutual motivations” tying the parties together. Moreover, these connections must be structured in a way that is rewarding to everyone involved. Just like self-made millionaires, who are usually very adept at providing incentives to business associates to get them to be supportive, you similarly need to provide “economic glue” to centers of influence.

Direct and indirect financial incentives are the best thing for cementing your relationships with influencers. In many cases, this is a function of “paying” them for their support. There are various forms of currency you can use, such as monetary and thought leadership. There are many other forms of currency used by self-made millionaires that might be applicable such as avoidance of adversity and transitive payments. What matters most is that the value you provide is recognized as being just and fair—and extraordinarily motivational.

Self-made millionaires are authorities in ensuring alignment within their core network. Aligning interests are usually based on a deep understanding of people’s critical concerns first and their expressed intent second. This usually results in a multilayered array of provocations, encouragements and inducements that can be truly binding and motivating.

Convert centers of influence into advocates. By carefully selecting centers of influence and incentivizing them, you transform a center of influence into an advocate. This professional is now highly motivated to find affluent clients in need of your expertise. Moreover, you’re the professional they’re making referrals to.

Self-made millionaires work very hard to develop and maintain advocates. While it’s an intense process, the loyalty and financial returns of advocates can be astounding.

Measure achievements. Lastly, the results you realize from working with advocates should be constantly evaluated against your agenda. The achievements are consistently being critiqued. These critical appraisals enable you to perpetually refine and enhance your network of influencers. This might entail anything from tweaking the mechanisms of alignment to changing the centers of influence you’re working with.

Self-made millionaires are all about measuring their achievements. In their world, the yardstick is fairly straightforward. Are they on track to reach their ultimate financial goals? In this framework, it’s all about the money.

From Random To Systematic
Most people network randomly. They flay around, hoping beyond hope to connect with people who will, almost magically, seek to help them. This method is generally pervasive because it does indeed work. It just happens to be quite inefficient, overly costly and fraught with unfulfilled promises.

Street-smart networking, in contrast, is a demanding but very efficient and potent framework for building and maintaining relationships that translate into extreme, positive, consequential results. It’s a goal-oriented, results-driven, highly operational networking methodology.

In the context of cultivating centers of influence, street-smart networking is likely the most effective way to unfailingly garner new affluent clients. It’s highly systematic, which is one of its greatest strengths. As a street-smart networker, your business can flourish as you build an impressive affluent clientele by converting centers of influence into advocates.