Strategic Business Networking - Leveraging Connectors

connector-business-networking.jpgWhat's a connector?

Imagine sitting down with someone who wants to hear everything about you.  Most of us enjoy sharing our lives, insights and thoughts with other people.  We all love a good listener.  The connector is probably the best listener there is.  Because a true connector is truly interested in you as a person.  Understanding people’s stories is one of the passions that truly energizes the Connector.  The Connector Strategy is dependent on,

  1. Developing a large network of casual friends
  2. Maintaining Regular contact
  3. Recording casual friends in order to track contacts made and referrals received

Example of a strategic connector goal:

  • Contacts / Day:  10
  • Avg. Sales / 100 casual friends (weak links) contacted:  4
  • Avg. Dollar value / sale:  $1000
  • Business value of that Network:  In 5 years the business value of the network will be $1,000,000.

So the Key metrics for this strategy is:

  • weak link Contacts / day:
  • Average sales / 100 contacts:
  • Average Dollar Value / sale:

The connector knows that by developing ten weak link contacts per day the $1,000,000 the value of the network will be $1,000,000 in sales income for the connector.  This doesn’t include other personal and economic opportunities.

The tactics focus around how to develop those 10 weak link contacts…

  • Join a network – There are several types of networks where contacts can be met.
  • Organize an event
    • Sponsor yourself in an event
    • Organize an event highlighting a strong link in your network
    • Organize and sponsor a connector (maven or rainmaker) outside your network
    • Develop your own business community

  • Build your own community
    • Build your own Benjamin Franklin style Junta
      • Use your network to develop a board of advisors
      • User your network to do the work you don’t do as well
      • Use your network to sponsor locations for your Junta
      • Highlight restaurants and others to cater your event
    • Daily connections
      • Create a Weak Links contact schedule
      • Create a Strong links contact schedule
      • Create a new contacts schedule including:
        • Events
        • Introduction strategies
          • Email
          • “Coffee meetups”
          • Phone
          • Event cards (Birthdays, holidays, “Thank You” etc.)

You can see that all these activities add up to a lot of time and work.  Eventually you will run out of time.  This is where technology comes into place.  We don’t normally think of technology as a tactic, but technology is very tactical.  If we think about the technology that you’ll be using, much of the day to day parts of these tasked we discussed can be automated.  Here is a limited list of Technologies that the connector can use to increase the number of people they can connect with.

  • Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Software
  • Website 
  • Contact Management tools
    • Send out Cards
    • Survey tools
    • Skype
    • Email
    • SMS (Text technology systems) –
    • Public Calendars
  • Event Planning tools

Connectors know a lot of people.  They are charismatic and fun to be around.  So they seem like natural people to work with in your network.  Be aware though that you need to create the opportunity.  Nobody sees your vision like you do.  So when working with a connector, you build the opportunity... the plan.  In your plan, remember this is your plan.  Connectors love connecting people and can overwhelm you with people they think you should meet.  Help them filter the list for you by being very "...long tail" specific.  Limit your expectations to this role of making introductions for you.  Thier passion is making connections for people like you.  You are being a great friend when you introduce them to interesting people and when you connect with people they introduce you to. 

If you are interested in networking, check out these posts

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Topics: Business Development Business Networking Strategy Executive Outlier Building a Professional Network Referrals