Have you ever heard the expression “I’ve got a guy!” Being a great connector has many advantages. When you work at building relationships with a network of trusted professionals your willingness to share them with others can open many doors for you and your network.
For years I have been networking with a large number of professionals and have developed really great relationships along the way. Part of nurturing and maintaining those relationships is a willingness to keep my eyes and ears open to opportunities for people. By connecting professionals in my network I have found that people are more likely to think of me when they are looking for help and they often reciprocate in kind when they find someone who may need my services. Here are some tips to help you become a great connector:
- Build relationships with the people you network with. Don’t just collect business cards, really get to know them. Schedule a one-on-one, spend time with them at meetings, purpose to ask them a lot of questions, and listen for testimonials regarding the quality of their work.
- Put them in your phone and email contacts. When you think of them during a conversation take a moment and share their contact information right away. Be sure to make email introductions as well. Use a simple template and let them take it from there.
- Be sure to follow up with the folks you are connecting. Ask if it was a good connection for them. Be sure to get feedback. If it went well, great! If not, find out why and make sure your reputation is not affected by the outcome. Do what you can to rectify the situation. Sometimes a simple “I’m sorry.” goes a long way.
- Create lists of power partners for yourself and for others. Recently I started thinking of people who would be good referral partners for my business that I can refer my clients to for additional support. There are at least 13 currently on my list of immediate power partners. I’ve also started creating lists of people I know when I hear news: traveling, retiring, getting married, buying a home, etc. When I hear that someone is having one of these life events in their family I share my list with a congratulatory note and just ask that they use my name when they use it.
- Connect with other connectors. Make an effort to connect with people who know people and are willing to make introductions. It always helps to call someone in your network when you need “a guy” that may not be part of your immediate network. By connecting with other connectors you increase the size of your network and your opportunities.
Be that go to person in your network. Let people know that you have trusted contacts that can help them. Becoming a good connector adds value to your relationships. Remember, connecting is all about bringing value to other people and setting yourself apart as a trusted advisor. Be the “I’ve got a guy!’ person in your network.