For anyone to refer their contacts—possibly close business partners or friends—to your business, they will have to have a certain minimum level of awareness of you and your business.
At a personal level, they will have to
- know you
- like you
- and trust you.
For that to happen, you’ll have had to spend some time with them, in one to ones or other interactions where they can get to know you.
Connectors, mavens and ‘salesmen’
In his book, The tipping point (well worth reading), Malcolm Gladwell identifies three types of person who you might meet at a networking event (and in every other aspect of life). Most people are none of these three—a few rare people are more than one
Connectors know a lot of people: they “link us up with the world … people with a special gift for bringing the world together”. They are “a handful of people with a truly extraordinary knack [… for] making friends and acquaintances” (Gladwell). Crucially, however, it is not enough that they know a lot people—they have to really like connecting the right ones together.
Mavens know a lot of stuff. They are “information specialists”, “people we rely upon to connect us with new information”. They accumulate knowledge and understanding and, again crucially, they like to share it with others and know how to.
I prefer the word ‘influencer’. Gladwell’s ‘salesmen’ are able to persuade others. They have a, probably, incompletely understood way of communicating that encourages others to believe them.