In it’s simplest form, connection marketing is the concept of building your brand by being nice. Promoting yourself, and your business, by being a nice, reliable, trustworthy person is pretty obvious really. I mean, who wouldn’t want to work with something like that? I would! And I’d happily referral my contacts, colleagues, friends and family over to them too!
But when we look closer, there’s actually a lot more too it than simply being an all-round decent human. You also need to add value to people in your network. It’s not enough just to be nice, oh no that won’t encourage people to pick up the phone and do business with you: you need to give them a bit more of a nudge.
Here’s how I describe the concept in all it’s glory:
The biggest thing here is the ‘add significant value‘ element; by adding value to the people in your network, you become a valuable person to know. So of course more people will want to know you because of it. More importantly though you become someone others want to add value to in return – it’s our nature.
If someone helps us we can’t help but want to help them back. It’s the foundation of our relationships, it’s why we teach our children to share their toys – so other kids will like them.
Sharing is a trade we make in exchange for friendship!
A child who lets other kids play with their toys will be well liked, and in exchange for sharing with others will receive friendship. Other children will then return the favour with the sharing of their own toys. If they don’t the others won’t play with them and the reciprocation of friendship is lost, which is usually a pretty high price to pay.
We are nothing more than big kids and the currency we trade for friendship, or in this case professional relationships, has simply changed from toys to other items of value.
By sharing these items of value we can quickly become professionally popular you could say!
So how can we add value to the people within our network? Here are some really simple ways to get started:
Introducing people within your network who have the potential to do business directly, build a mutually beneficial relationship (i.e. they have the same target market so could continually cross-refer should the right relationship form), or who could potentially support each other in additional ways is the perfect way to add value! Anything positive that comes from an introduction you make will result in you being thought of fondly.
Share your Knowledge
You have a lot to give, and your knowledge and experience is hugely valuable. Sharing it with your network so they can benefit from your expertise will add value to them, and will also showcase the fact that you’re great at what you do.
Supporting people in your network can come in a whole range of different forms. From being there to listen when they’re having a bad day, to passing them information that could solve an issue they’re struggling with, to simply sharing their latest social media post or blog (go on, you know you want to!). Helping people within your network, with no expectation of return or praise, is one of the most powerful things you can do for your business and your career. It will build your personal and professional brand to such high esteem you’d struggle to spend money on something to match it!
Adding value to those around you will help you build strong, long-term relationships and open the doors for more referrals than you might know what to do with! But first and foremost; just be a decent person. Start there and the rest will follow.
For more information on Connection Marketing and other networking techniques and training simply drop me a line at: firstname.lastname@example.org
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