Being a good salesperson and a good leader means connecting quickly with other people. I’ve been researching how the world’s top hosts – the people who run amazing hotels and restaurants – work their magic and quickly tune in to others, building relationships and develop meaningful connections. The answer – they think like Connectors.
These five top tips will help you right now:
1. Don’t wait for the other person – be first to be interested
Think about it – if you wait for the other person to show an interest, and you are both playing to those rules, then nobody will ever do anything! Of course, Connectors are good at being first to show an interest. Someone has to start, being first to give, to connect and to show some faith in the other. Seeing an opportunity to start a conversation and grabbing it is the essential first step in Connecting.
2. Be interested in the other person’s ‘walk’
The ‘walk’ is the metaphorical journey being undertaken by the other, the person you are meeting and connecting with. All too often workplaces greet people with the job title. Each individual on the planet is so much more than this and as humans we flourish and shine when our walk, our humanity is acknowledged. Meeting the other as a person, rather than as a representative, a region, a statistic or a token, is a vital first step.
3. Give them something of value – without expecting anything back
This doesn’t need to be a large or lucrative something, but showing people how you can add value to their lives is a great step. The trick is not to assume what form ‘value’ has to the other person. Just giving them something that you like or value is merely to give a not-very-subtle sign that you know better than they do. Listen for what interests them, where they are, what they are doing, and then offer a small thing that could be helpful, such as a connection, an article, a website, a call or a great blog post.
4. Connect them with someone else
Thinking like a Connector is not just about connecting with people. It’s also about connecting others together. The kinds of things shared by connectors – connections, links, ideas, credit, attention and love – do not shrink by being shared. Indeed, sharing increases them. Suppose we both have networks of a hundred people; when we meet and connect, our networks both increase by one. This doesn’t seem like much, but what happens when I connect you to two other people? Let’s assume they both have networks of a hundred. By making one single connection, I have opened up the direct possibility of connections between any of the two networks of a hundred – in other words, ten thousand possible connections. Much better.
5. Build resourcefulness, not dependence
Some people worry about helping people to be more resourceful and self-reliant, because they will then go on to be better, leave the nest and fly away. Much has been written about how good leaders will focus on developing new and better leaders (rather than followers). When we invest in relationships, we never know what is going to come back and where from. We invest in developing a member of our team who goes on to leave the organization. It can feel like such a blow – the time we’ve put in and the time to find a replacement – yet what comes back might be good press about the company as a good employer, a good company to work for. We never know what things will lead to.