Networking insights for the real world
3 Steps to Ramp Up Your Connections
Saturday, 24th December, 2011Posted by on
Networking takes time. A lot of it. I’ve tried to find ways to condense what would take years to accomplish and do it months and then share that with you. What sounds great in a book doesn’t always work in the real world though. With all of that in mind I’d like to share with you how you can leapfrog the “build time” and start getting the benefits of a larger network in a fraction of the time.
Step 1: Find the “connectors” in your target group.
In Malcolm Gladwells’s book, Tipping Point, he introduced the world to “connectors”. Those people who just seem to know everyone. Gladwell explained that new information was more likely to come into contact with a connector and that if the connector chose to they could distribute it to their network. Thus helping to create the Tipping Point where an idea grabs hold and spreads like crazy.
Why this is important for us is because while becoming a connector may seem to be the goal you want to pursue it takes a lot of time to get into that position. In business a connector is more often than not someone who has been in the industry for 20 or more years and has a track record of accomplishments longer than your arm! If you’’re new to an industry or territory (like me) it can be very hard becoming one of these connectors in a reasonable length of time.
The beauty is that you don’t have to be a real connector, you just have to have a few in your network and get 80% of the benefits. Don’t spend 20 years becoming a connector, find someone who has already done it and connect with them! 1% of the time and effort for 80% of the benefits. Sound like a good deal? I think so!
Step 2: Find out what’s important to these people and how you can help them achieve it.
As I’ve mentioned in other posts (Do You Know the Point of Business Networking?), you need to put yourself in the shoes of the person you want to connect with and work out what’s important to them and then see how you can help them get it.
In my line of work (giving loans to businesses) there are small brokerage houses that do a very similar job to me. They go out and find business that need money and then find a bank that will lend the money to them. Usually these people started out working for just one bank as an employee but over time built up their contacts to a point that they have lots of deals coming across their desk and could make more money simply linking the businesses with the banks that could lend to them. These loan brokers are the connectors for my industry. As a result, I’m changing a large portion of my networking efforts to bring these connectors into my network. They need to find banks that are lending to businesses and are looking for people they can work with to deliver loans with excellent pricing and terms to their customers. That’s how I can help them.
Step 3: Repeat Steps 1 and 2.
Where there is one, there are others. Done it once? Do it again. Leverage yourself wherever you can to ramp up the reach of your network.
That’s it! Get out there and bring some connectors into your network.