How To Become a Master Connector in 5 Easy Steps
I bet you know someone who's got an enviable Rolodex of successful entrepreneurs, investors, journalists and more. Makes you wonder, How do they do it? -- right?
How does this person know so many people, and why do so many people care to call him or her a friend?
You may assume that the secret sauce lies in being good at connecting, networking, meeting and greeting. But, in fact, none of those talents fully explains why this person has a network you envy . . .
I know this because I myself spent three years connecting with every successful person I came across: I jumped on skype. I interviewed all of these new acquaintances for my book The Successful Mistake. And then I assumed I “knew” them.
I sat back with a grin on my face, because I too would soon be one of those master connectors. Only . . . thatt didn’t happen, and the reason was that I made a giant mistake: I connected with lots of people, but those connections didn’t translate into friendships.
Why? The reason is, I spent so much time reaching out to new folk, I forgot to speak to the ones I’d already spoken to. I focused on quantity over quality, and this is not what a true master connector does.
Becoming a master connector isn’t hard (but it isn’t easy, either).
Today, it isn’t hard to build an enviable network. We live in a connected society; travel is affordable for many; and information is freely exchanged, fueling collaboration and further connections.
So, the bottom line is that connecting with influencers isn’t hard. But turning these connections into a relationship is. It requires commitment and intention. It requires you to go out of your way to provide them with value. This is where I personally went wrong while writing my book. And although I made mistakes, I like to think I was good at learning from them.
So, as I spoke to people like Teresa de Grosbois, Jayson Gaignard, Dorie Clark, John Corcoran, Sol Orwell and Scott Oldford (individuals who seem to know everyone), I observed the means they used to build their networks.
What I noticed was, they all shared (and share) a willingness to connect those they know with one another. They want their friends to be friends with their friends, and always consider who should know who. You can do the same, in as little as ten minutes each week. Here is how.
Step 1: Highlight a friend in need.
Think about those you already know. This could be a friend, colleague, mentor, customer, or someone you don’t know well, but would like to know better.
If you’re struggling to think of someone, consider who has a big project coming up (a new book, launch, or business idea). Highlight one of these people as "a friend in need" and commit to helping this person by introducing him or her to someone else.
Step 2: Consider whom they should know.
Now that you have highlighted whom to help, think about someone you know that this person needs to know, too.
This may be someone who could help during the first person's upcoming launch, or else a like-minded individual in the same industry. Chances are, you know someone who could be of use, so dive into your existing network and plan to play matchmaker.
Step 3: Ask permission (from both people).
This step is vital, because there’s little worse than someone sending unsolicited connections. Don’t assume these two people want to know one another. Ask permission from the both of them.
Send your first friend an email, explaining whom you would like to connect them with, and why. Once that first person replies and says yes to your offer, send your second friend an email asking the same.
Chances are, both people would love you to connect them with each other. In fact, I’ve never personally had someone tell me not to; still, you should never presume.
Step 4: Connect them.
Now that you have permission from the two of them, it’s time to include them in an email. So, say hello and remind them that this is the introduction you mentioned in your previous message. Introduce your first friend, including a short overview of who he or she is (and a link to this person's site).
Introduce your second friend, including an overview of who he or she is, and does.
Finish the email by handing things over to them.
Step 5. Leave them to it.
Your job is done; your duty over with.
The worse thing you can now do is get involved and manage this new blossoming friendship. You’ve done what you can do, so get on with your own life and get back to work.
What happens next is up to them. Maybe the introduction will lead to a friendship, maybe it won’t. Maybe they will meet for coffee, maybe not. You cannot control what happens next, which may lead you to ask . . . why?
Why connect two people like this? What benefit does this have to me?
The answer is none, at least initially (and not directly).
The point isn’t to benefit you. The point is to bring value into your network, and for you to be someone who introduces your friends to other friends.
The point is, you’ll likely receive a lot of benefit over time because, once you become a master connector, other master connectors will connect you with awesome folk you need to know.
This whole process takes you ten minutes to make each introduction, and if you do one once each week, the exponential value will have a huge impact on your network, your relationships and your business growth. I speak from my experience, because once I began to treat my connections other than people to connect with, real friendships blossomed and brought me work, opportunities, and so much more.
Connecting people can do the same for you.