Imagine a stereotypical networking event.
Go in, talk to 200 people, walk out with 200 business cards. Success?
Hold it. Scott Gerber of the Young Entrepreneur Council and author of fresh off the press thoughtpiece Superconnector: Stop Networking and Start Building Relationships that Matter connects with us today on our show, the Art of Likability.
In a modern world built upon sales, leads, and convert, convert, convert, Scott wants to reintroduce the idea of human connection. Instead of creating a business card collection (like a stamp collection) like a networker, Scott recommends you to become a connector instead.
While some can only see the immediate lead from a business card, a connector sees multiple steps ahead: the relationships that blossom from genuine human connection.
Jump into today's episode and become the likable connector you can become!
No Diet Pills, Only Mindset.
Ever hear jokes about diet pills in fitness and how they don't work?
A well-meaning but naive individual wishes to lose weight, perhaps for a variety of reasons. He hears about a magical pill that promises to shed weight like a golden retriever sheds hair.
"This pill is a panacea," he imagines. After all, he's a busy man; he doesn't have time to hit the gym, watch his diet, or go jogging. So he happily buys the pills. And of course, the pills don't work! Because fitness success must be approached from different angles, headlined by an overall mindset!
The same idea applies in networking. If someone goes into a networking event with the single-minded goal of getting as many cards and leads as possible, that's a one-trick pony, diet pill approach to connecting people.
Take the mindset instead of wanting to connect people with other people who can help them out, and you'll adopt various methods to realize this goal.
It takes a concerted effort to reach fitness goals. It takes a team to realize big business goals. It takes a mindset to be a Superconnector.
What does this mindset include? Now we go over a (non-inclusive) list of actions Scott has seen in successful Superconnectors, contrasted with a networking approach:
Networkers vs. Superconnectors
Immediate Benefit vs. the Long Game
While a networker will look for the immediate benefit of a new lead, a connector will look a few steps down the road for potential new relationships.
Networker: "Have you heard about my business? Here's my card!"
One anecdote I tell people is the uncomfortable feeling I got after meeting someone at a conference who was promoting her book. After our talk, she leaned in conspiratorially and whispered, "when I look around this conference, I see walking 20$ bills." Slimy!
Connector: "I have a friend you should meet..."
Anybody goes vs. Selective
The networker has not done any homework and does not know much about you, but here's his business card anyways! Can't hurt to offer, right? He walks out of the venue with 200 business cards, just enough to adjust his crooked dining table at home.
You're a savvy connector and you know about a new friend's interest in whitewater rafting, because you did your homework on people coming to the event. He's new in town, he says? Turns out that you know a outdoors sporting club that can help to welcome them into town.
Nothing Doing vs. Adding Value Everywhere
Once again, a networker approaches the "networking" event with the goal of getting as many leads as possible.
Scott reveals an important truth to connection: people who are creating value in one environment are already creating value elsewhere. Call upon your involvement in volunteering, your career, your religious group, if it promises a shred of value in connecting a person to their goals!
No need to see every conversation as either leading to profit or nothing. Play the longer game and see if you can offer that person value in a new contact.
The 30 Second Video Technique
Remember how we said connectors are selective? After your "networking" event, you have an selective idea of the people you can help out and connect with other powerful players. Now you're in a unique position to further the relationship.
One of Scott's connection moves is to create a 30 second video for someone with whom he connected. Such a video shows three things:
- You make it clear-as-day obvious that your recipient is a valued individual. Instead of someone else's lead receiving a generic email, they're getting a personalized video from you.
- You reveal the impact that their work has had on you. You've usually seen a topic from one angle, but maybe they got you to see it from a different viewpoint!
- You show that you have done your homework on them, that you are prepared to engage them.
Remember that none of these ideas alone promises the ability to fluidly connect people, they are part of an overall connector mindset. But this is a great way to get technology to work for you! And Scott is big on the effects of technology on our culture and our connections...
See where all this information comes to a head? Scott is big on reintroducing human connections in business. If we had to sum up this episode in fewer than ten words, Scott said it best:
"Real relationships take real time. You can't cheat time."
"Technology has bastardized our humanity," he adds. We live in a world where you could run a business from home, sitting in the comfort of a very comfortable couch. All you'd need to do is to have a worthy product and market.
Incidentally, if you do run a business from home and are the awesome people-person like so many of us in the Art of Likability community, there is Freshbooks, an amazing accounting software which handles your finances and taxes. Check them out at www.freshbooks.com/arel!
There are some people who see business magnates like Richard Branson and dream of taking two years to replicate what he did in twelve. After all, technology makes it possible, and you just have to collect leads, funnel, upsell, cross sell...input, output...
But where's the human element in all that? The people element?
Never forget that people are people.
And building real relationships with people over time takes consistent effort. That'd you'd take the time to send them a 30 second video is just one way to grow the relationship.
It's a mindset, not a one-trick pony diet pill.
This is the true mindset of the Superconnector, as eloquently as possible:
Real relationships take real time, and you can't cheat real time.
Remember: the information in this podcast will not help you at all. Only the IMPLEMENTATION of this information will get you to where you need to be.
Also remember: You Are Awesome! *high five*