Breaking Into The Good Ol' Boy Network

Jeb advises what to do when you are blocked by a Good ol' Boy network.

Jeb Blount
4-minute read

Actually that is a reasonable response. There is nothing more frustrating than being on the outside of a Good ol' Boy network looking in. You feel helpless and weak. It makes you mad. And, if taking your frustration out on the messenger makes you feel better – that’s ok with me.

But before you stomp off in frustration, answer this question: How did the boys on the inside of the network get there in the first place? I guarantee one thing, it was not by osmosis.

At one time or another almost all of the boys on the inside of the network were on the outside looking in – just like you. They were frustrated, thought it wasn’t fair, and were stuck. But instead of complaining about it they took action. They took initiative to build relationships. They joined trade associations, did favors, went to lunches and dinners, and found ways to get introduced to the “inner circle.” And most importantly, instead of constantly focusing on what they wanted, their focus was on solving problems and adding value. They became driven to find ways to help the people in the inner circle succeed. And little by little, they chipped away at the wall, broke down barriers, opened doors, and developed relationships. Until one day, they were on the inside looking out.

Sales Guy’s Quick and Dirty Tips for Getting Inside the Good o’l Boy Network

  • Know Who’s Who: within any network there are key influencers who will impact how quickly you are accepted. The first step to getting on the inside is discovering who these people are. You will then need to see who, in your network of friends and acquaintances, can give you an introduction – think six degrees of separation.