I’ve found that networking and connecting are two very different things. To me, “networking” means interacting with your contacts, having a clear objective top of mind. “Connecting” comes from a genuine interest in people and creates a bond based on shared interest.
Most people would rather talk to a connector.
Through the experience of years, one of the trait we’ve found across successful service industry businesses is the ability to be a solid connector. This includes construction, real estate development, design and a variety of trades in our industry. The skill comes with the job description.
Maybe a subtitle below our contractor name should be the word “connector.” We do it every day and it helps make us more successful. We get an opportunity to price a project because of quality, good delivery and a reputation for honesty. Beyond this, connecting goes a long way toward being successful.
This means a deep-seated desire to help others, expecting nothing in return. Trust me, there will be plenty of payback long-term, but that’s not the point. It’s like planting in the spring: You’ve got to have the right soil and the right seeds, and then patience.
Here are a few ways I connect:
- Whenever I think of someone, I record the idea on my iPhone using the voice memo button. I use this as a reminder to follow with a call or note.
- As I read the Wall Street Journal or trade publications, I’m always thinking about appropriate articles to send to those in our circle of good companies.
- I send out lots of congratulations. People always like to be recognized for their good work, and doing so makes the world a little bit better place.
- Above all, I try to help others be financially successful, connecting the dots to others. I have found over the years, putting good folks in touch with other good people often means we get a seat on the plane as well.
How do you surpass networking to connect?