Be A Successful Connector podcast is another episode written and produced by Tracy Heatley.
This episode is all about making yourself a connector and how to be a successful connector. By that, I mean being someone who actively connects and helps other people regularly and often.
For me, as a networking professional, this is something that I do every day, sometimes every hour of every day. It is my passion to help business owners and professionals to make connections and win referrals.
I fully aware that you have your own business to run or job to do and making time to be a great connector may not be a priority, especially if you are busy working within your business or job. But hear me out because I think you will like what I have to say.
How many times, have you met someone and assumed that they probably won’t be able to refer business to you or become a customer? Probably more than you can remember, right!? How many times have you spent time speaking to someone, at a networking event or meeting, and in the back of your mind you have been thinking, I am wasting my time here? It is okay if you have. Most people have. However, if this is something that you do regularly because you are only interested in talking to potential customers when you are networking, then it is time to flip the script!
What If You Knew You Would Succeed?
What if you knew, if you were 100% certain that everyone in the room knew someone who was your ideal customers. Whether you are B2B Business to business or B2C Business to consumer, your ideal customer is still a who, because it is always person who you are introduced to.
Let’s Go With This
Let us go with this for minute. Just think for a minute and imagine you are at a networking event of meeting. It could be online or offline. It could be a large open networking event or with a smaller more intimate networking group. Either is good for this purpose. As you imagine yourself networking and notice what you notice about the people there, how do they look, what do you visualize first, how do you feel, how do others feel about you. As you notice the sounds that are going on around you what do you hear.
Now, knowing that you are a very successful connector who is brilliant at giving and gaining referrals. And also being armed with the knowledge that every single person who is there networking with you, knows someone who will become your ideal customer. Plus, you know with absolutely certainty that providing you build a rapport them; they will refer you on.
Now notice how you feel, what your thoughts are, what are you saying to yourself in your head.
Has your perspective changed at all?
Have your feelings towards those people changed?
Will you approach them in a different manner than before? Do you feel more confident?
Are you even more keen to get networking than you were before?
If the answer is yes to any of these questions, can you imagine the shift if your emotions, behaviours, and mindset, if you flipped the script every time you went networking.
You may or may not have imagined what the outcomes would be yet, but as you do, imagine how successful the conversations you have will be?
The power of networking is right there for you to grasp! All you must do is believe that everyone is there to help you and even more important that you are there to help them.
We know now that if we choose to, we can shift our focus to enable us to feel good about networking, fill ourselves with hope and make time for other people. You will hear me talking a lot about helping other people get what they want.
As You Become A Successful Connector…
As you become a successful connector, you will find yourself helping other people and introducing people to one-and-other more and more. A successful connector is someone who always knows someone else. It is a person who successfully links people together. That could be to do business or because they have a synergy, perhaps the same target market or a similar ethical approach.
You will know if someone is a good fit. Sometimes, it will be due to business type, sector, objectives, market, and other times it will be down to personality.
To be a good connector, first you must genuinely want to help someone. Yes, there may be a reward, by way of referral, further down the line, but you do need to be authentic and connect people with no ulterior motive.
You also need to make it your business to listen and learn about other people’s businesses, so that you can establish if and how you can identify appropriate people and customers to introduce them to.
Networking Is Like Karma
You need to accept that whilst networking is very much like karma and often you do reap what you sow, it is possible that you will not get any other reward other than the satisfaction and pleasure of knowing that you did something good to help someone else. On the other hand, the referral rewards may be very handsome rewards indeed. Who knows? My point is that the genuine willingness to help other people is the strongest attribute a successful connector can have.
Six Degrees Of Separation
You will hear a lot about six degrees of separation when you are networking. That you are only six people away from the person you want to speak to or your ideal customers. I would argue that these days, it is much less than that, especially with the power of social media.
How many people to you know?
I am not a gambling woman, but I will bet you can triple that number at least, when you think about how many people you know well and how many people, you are connected to through social media platforms. It is all relative when it comes to being a successful connector.
Recognise Who To Connect
Without someone having to ask you or tell you who they would like an introduction to, the power of being a successful connector is all about YOU recognizing who will be good connections and links for them. The power of you approaching and saying something along the lines of, “I’ve got this contact called Fred and I think you and he have got a lot in common and you’re targeting the same types of customers.
How would you like me to introduce you so that you can have a conversation about referring business to each other?
You are volunteering to help. Some of the most valuable connections I have made have been of this nature. I do not know whether the people I have connected will be able to refer business to me in the future, but I do know that I find it very emotionally rewarding to know that I have helped their businesses succeed and win new business.
Authenticity When Networking
I referred to authenticity earlier on because it is crucial. Even if I had a formal strategic partnership with a company and they were going pay me a commission or bonus for referring business, I know hand on heart 100% that I would never refer them on to one of my connections unless I truly believed that it was the right fit for them. A good rule of thumb is to clarify to yourself that you are doing it out of the goodness of your heart and not for any other reason, then you know, that you genuinely believe that the people you are connecting are a good match.
A few networking tips to follow are:
Seek opportunities for others as much as you do for yourself.
Make the time to help others even when you are busy.
Do what you say you will do. If you say you will connect two people, then do it.
Use your instincts and if you are not sure about making a connection then do not do it, because you your reputation is key when networking. What I am saying is assess the risk before you make an introduction.
When you are making an introduction and connecting people, it is a good idea to keep it relaxed and casual. All you are doing is making the link between two people. You do not have to sell their services, products, values, or business proposition.
Always get permission to connect people together. This way, each person involved is expecting contact and they know that it is you who has instigated the connection.
Some psychologists believe that by helping others we are fulfilling our own psychological needs. I get there, we are human beings, and we need social connections. I do not know a single person who is an authentic great connector who does not excel when networking. Of course, they do! Give it a go and see how it works for you.
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