Stranger at the Coffee Shop

Family, friends, colleagues, that one guy you see every day when you stop to get your morning coffee. We all know people and all the people we know, know more people. Even though there are over 8 billion people in the world, there is an intricate and vast network that connects everyone.

This network is a mix between a tree and a spider web. If we start small, we can say that every person we know, knows someone else and every person that they know, knows someone else and this continues to branch out and grow. At the same time, we may also know those 3rd, 4th, or 5th tier connections, creating a webbing within these branches multiple times. It can get a little bit messy.

Systems like Linked In manage this very well with tier connections and provides further connections based on interests, locations, activity, and the connections that you already have. How many times do you receive a notification like, “Do you know John Smith?” Well, that’s the algorithm seeing that you and John have 3 mutual connections and that you both graduated from the same college. Now granted it’s not perfect. John graduated 3 years before you and 2 of those mutual connections are teachers, but this same process can be used as an individual to help create more connections and build your network.

Let’s keep talking about John. There are a couple of ways that we can make a connection with John. The first and probably most effective is through a referral. Mutual connections are a great way to gain new clients and connections and are the foundation of creating trust.  The second option is indirect communication. Things like mailers and social media posts on pages and groups that you both are a part of. Creating a sort of top-of-mind influence. This can be effective, but it can usually take a long time. The third option, the boldest option, is direct communication. This can happen in several ways from face-to-face or over the phone to a softer approach using direct messaging or email. Through conversations regarding mutual interests and connections, you look for an opportunity to share what you do and how it is beneficial for John. As I mentioned, this approach is a lot bolder and can sometimes be off-putting for some but depending on the type of business that you are in, the people that are taken by this approach might be the exact type of people that you want to be connected to. Now using one of these approaches is great but if you can use more than one then the connection can be that much easier and more effective.

Your network can be more than just the people that work with you or the people that utilize your service. Your network is your marketing team, your knowledge base, and of course your business support. Utilize the power of your network and understand the potential that it has in helping your business grow to the best it can be. When done right, that guy at the coffee shop will come to you.