It has been said that, in business, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know. The people with the most connections are often considered the most powerful people within an industry. While this adage is prevalent in corporate America, as an entrepreneur you may wonder if the same rule holds true.
In my experience, as you scale your company from ground zero to hero, developing super-connector characteristics and skill sets can expand your influence and catalyze your business growth.
But what does it really take to become super-connected?
What are Super-Connectors?
A good friend of mine, we’ll call him David (for anonymity purposes), is well-connected. In fact, there aren’t many people that David doesn’t know; and even fewer that don’t know him.
When I first met David, immediately he was likeable, funny and easy to talk to. Over the years, I’ve noticed while David’s sphere of influence has grown he has remained consistent and never ‘seriously’ puts on airs regarding his influence. He’s quick to make a referral. He has given me more than my fair share of gifts. And he’s always in the know.
Yet, what’s most striking about David is this: if you ask others about David their responses are unanimously consistent with what I know about him. Simply put, he’s a super-connector. He knows how to connect the right people, in the right places at the right time. And because of his super ability, people want to — and will go out of their way to — know him.
What may surprise you about super-connectors, like David, is this: they are not always easily spotted by their social media prowess, “Look at me!” personality traits, or overzealous conference attendance. In fact, it’s not always easy to spot a super-connector. Their power and influence is like a sleight of hand, effortless and undeniable, because they deliver one thing really well — results.
A super-connector is influential, not necessarily because of what they have, instead it’s all about who — and what — they know. Most importantly — what they do with it.
Get Super-Connected in 5 Simple Steps
When you start and grow a business, most people will stress the importance of networking. Then you’ll fling yourself into the local business scene only to end up tired, frustrated and no better off than where you started. And for many, they soon find their ill-attempted networking binges aren’t cultivating true business value.
The problem is, they think “popularity” is “influence.” Super-connectors know differently, because real influence is predicated by one determinant factor — results.
You may say, “I’m not a good networker!” or “I am an introvert.” That’s okay. Becoming super-connected doesn’t require speed-networking or a gregarious personality. But you will have to do one thing quite often — step outside of your comfort zone.
If you’re ready to create tremendous value for those around you, and benefit in return, here are five powerful ways to unlock the secrets of socially-connected and influential entrepreneurs.
Stay top of mind in targeted online and offline environments. Does this mean you need to attend every conference and event known to mankind? No. But you will need to target your efforts and show up at key online platforms and specific events that support your business goals. Start to selectively identify 1-3 key activities, both online and offline, that offer a platform where you can create immense immediate value.
Listen intently and connect dots.
The art of being super-connected is less about you and more about the value you create for others in your sphere of influence. You can’t connect people if you don’t take an interest in them. Once you understand their motivations and passions, you can anticipate their needs before they think to ask. Unsurprising enough, most people never ask for what they need. So this leaves the door open for you to connect the dots, easing a pain point for others, and build authentic win-win relationships.
Follow-up like a pro.
How many times has someone said, “You should really meet so and so!” You nod, grin and agree. Yet, more often than not, an introduction is never made and an opportunity is missed. Instead, take it upon yourself to make a genuine connection. Ask the person who made the comment to make an introduction or simply take it upon yourself to send a ‘brief’ email to your new acquaintance and preface it with the referral.
Create unparalleled value.
When you reach out to connect with others it’s never all about you. In fact, the first thing that should come to your mind is, “How can I make this person more successful.” Super-connectors intrinsically understand the “What’s in it for me?” principal and communicate in a way that adds so much value, people can’t help but ask, “What can I do for you?”
Be consistent and authentic.
Do you remember what I told you about David? Regardless of who you ask, those who know him have similar perceptions. This is due, largely in part, to his keen ability to remain consistent and communicate authentically. Simply put, you will never have to guess what personality he will show up with on any given day of the week — you know what to expect. And if he does have ten personalities, he’s kind enough to only show you one. Like you, David knows, when it comes to business relationships people don’t enjoy ‘the unexpected.’ So, keep this in mind as you forge new relationships. Be yourself, and strive to be a better version of yourself each day. Communicate in an authentic way and it will empower others to do the same.
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