How (and why) to be a ‘Super-Connector’ – 5 tips for networking success
Let me start by saying I don’t believe in fate. I’m a scientific guy and until I see proof that the universe works in that way, I can’t subscribe to that belief. However, I do believe that when you put effort in, you get effort out. Equal + opposite reactions and all that…
Over the past 6 months I’ve regularly and deeply asked myself what I truly love doing and what I’m truly good at. The answer I keep landing on is ‘connecting people’.
While this has often been to my detriment in the past 6 years of being in business and not focusing enough on actually making a mound of cash, it does bring the rewards of a great book of contacts, a lot of favours to call-in, a lot of friends and feeling great a lot of the time.
But why? Why would you spend all your time connecting people and how do you go about doing it successfully?
Giving value to people is what will bring you a return. Gone are the days of cold hard sales – no one wants to buy from ‘that guy’ calling you every 5 minutes until he wears you down into saying yes. It might still be a sale but how long is the relationship going to last when it didn’t start off on the right for in the first place? It’ll be nowhere near as rewarding as it could be, for either party.
Connecting the people you want to build trust, value and relationships with is key. Creating a network of people who enjoy working with each other around yourself makes you the centre of their network and most likely to reap the rewards when you do have something to sell them or ask of them.
But how do you go about doing that in a non-cheesy, non-salesy way? Easy. Here are my top tips for networking:
- Be genuinely interested in what everyone around you does. Without actual interest you will not remember, or care to connect people.
- Care about the effect your existence has on other peoples success – I care deeply about how my existence has an effect on the business of my contacts and how I can make it as positive as possible.
- Consider other people all the time. As soon as someone tells me what they do, I have a habit of automatically delving into the contact book in my head and pulling out 2 or 3 contacts that could benefit this person and they can benefit alike.
- Follow-up – make sure those contacts you suggested are introduced. Having the potential to help someone become more successful isn’t anywhere near as powerful as actually making it happen.
- Be humble and don’t expect reciprocation. This isn’t House of Cards. You don’t have to lay out the rules of engagement here. The more you give, the more likely something is to come back. Think about your biggest clients, did they come from a cold-call? Or was it through a genuine relationship?
*Bonus Tip Alert*
Ask them how you would sell their business to someone else. What is their elevator pitch? If you can build a bank of everyones elevator pitches in your head then you become a powerful sales tool for everyone you meet and can increase the value you have as a connection.
So, here’s my challenge to you:
Can you connect the next 3 people you meet with 2 more people?
Learn exactly what they do, listen – don’t talk – and then make a suggestion based on your current network about who they should meet. Make the intro and let the sparks fly!
Do you have any tips for networking? Share them in the comments below!