Becoming a master connector is more than networking. A master connector is a generous networker. You can learn how.
If someone is really good at networking – so good that this person is considered a master connector – you might think that this person draws on innate talents that go back to his or her childhood. This line of thinking leads you to believe that if you’re not a good networker today, then you never will be.
Well, now you’re thinking that this master connector sweeps through a crowded room, collects and distributes business cards, shakes a lot of hands, and calls it a day.
But wait, there’s more to it than that.
The best networkers – the ones who become master connectors – are made, not born.
“I was shy and introverted. Picked on, bullied, learning disabled, dyslexic. I had really low self-esteem for a very long time,” master connector Steve Spiro said in this episode of the Publio Podcast. “I was able to get on the other side of that because of the power of mentorship, self-development, networking, and – honestly – the grace of God.”
Four Truths to Become a Master Connector
Spiro says it’s not just about building connections and a network, it’s also about connecting authentically and being the “go-giver” who can connect the dots that help other people succeed. He shared these four qualities that he looks for in people who appear on his Master Connector Show.
1. Connect Authentically
Your mission is to be the light, uplift, inspire and encourage. Whether it be in your LinkedIn message, your social media post, or talking to someone: Be authentic.
“I love to lead with my weaknesses and my vulnerabilities because people open up,” Spiro said, “and then you start to really get to know them, and you find needs, wants, desires, challenges, and the things that keep them up at night. And now you can hopefully find ways in which you can add value.”
Maybe it will be the services that you’re selling, or maybe you help them connect some dots to other people in your network.
2. Be a go-giver
Move from inward focus to others-focus. Spiro says this works very well in sales. When you think about someone else’s needs over your own, you are adding value. Think about the secret of the corn.
“You don’t go to a field and say ‘hey, give me some corn!’ You have to plant the seed and let it grow before you can harvest it.”
Essentially, you have to do the work before you get paid – or close the sale.
3. Master Connectors Overcome Obstacles
Sometimes, success can take decades, such as the actor who labored at his craft for 10 years before he became an overnight sensation. Your obstacle may be personal, it might be day-to-day things that pile on such as relationships or bad financial management.
“You need grit to get over these challenges,” Spiro said. “I was shy and introverted. My learning disability taught me how to be a creative problem solver. You need to have grit to get over obstacles.”
4. Grow Your Community
The first three qualities allow you to grow your community and your network. “I don’t do this with a me-focus, I do it with an others-focus,” Spiro emphasized. “You’re doing it in a way that adds value for others.”
Add to this a media platform such as a podcast, webinar, or a roundtable discussion. You can solve your problems and achieve your goals while solving problems for other people and helping them achieve their goals.
A Master Connector Emerges
If you use your candle to light other candles, the light on your candle is not the least bit diminished. Spiro gained this insight from an object lesson at a spiritual retreat when the leaders gave everyone in the room unlit candles.
“They turned off all the lights in the room. The leader lit his candle, then used his candle to light the candles for the people next to him. They used their candles to light the candles for people next to them, and on it went,” Spiro recalled. By the time it was all done, the whole room was bright from all those candles that got lit one by one.”
The idea of being a light to others drives Spiro. It’s great if your job or career matches your passion, but that’s not always possible. You have to find a passion in your life that you can bring to your work, and it doesn’t have to be tied directly to your business.
Master Connector as Personal Brand
“My persona as a master connector is not necessarily part of my company’s brand. It is my personal brand, and it manifests in every part of my life,” Spiro said.
This is the central idea behind unconventional networking. He recalled the time he led a lunch and learn session for a company. The topic was unrelated to the technology solutions he was selling at the time. It wasn’t a large group – about a dozen people. The owner was very grateful after the presentation because Spiro was not charging a fee for his presentation at the time.
“He expressed his thanks,” Spiro recalled, “and told everyone in the room that if anyone in their networks could use my services that they should refer me. One of his workers popped up and said that their own company needed exactly the services I was selling. So they became a client.”
The people who are really good at networking – so good that they are considered master connectors – are the types of people who affirm Zig Ziglar’s critical insight to success:
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.”
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