He was “a friend of a friend”, new to town, and looking for work. After we spoke, I realized I had no idea about the details of his story (e.g., Why did he leave a high paying job and a great city? What did he love so much about Charleston that would make him take this risk?). What I did know is that he was looking for employment, and began by leveraging his network to see whom he might meet.
I liked him a lot when we met, and this isn't really surprising because I tend to like most people I meet. But this guy really impressed me. He was smart, easy to talk with, and likeable. He made me want to help him.
First thing I did was reach out to a friend of mine from work who was a connector extraordinaire. I’m not simply talking about name-dropping. She seems to know everyone in Charleston, and I attribute a lot of this to her genuineness. She loves people, and loves connecting on a level that goes beyond a quick “how are you?” or “what do you do?”.
Within a week she had this man’s resume in front of several high level executives. She gave me weekly updates as if this were a high priority company project, and when she met someone at a networking event she would remember my “friend of a friend” and somehow work him into the conversation.
CONNECTORS, MAVENS, AND SALESPEOPLE
In Malcolm Gladwell’s book, The Tipping Point, he identifies three types of people needed to tip an idea, service, or product (Cubicle Nation had a great blog post on this topic that served as my inspiration for this post). He named them Connectors, Mavens, and Salespeople. Here's a bit about each.
Connectors have a special gift of bringing people together. They have the ability to bridge gaps and break through barriers. A connector is a great person to work with when you’re looking to add new life to your marketing efforts. They have the ability to get your message out with high impact so the message will stick.
Mavens are people who possess an incredible depth of knowledge about a particular subject or subjects. They’re the people you turn to in tricky situations because they have a seemingly infinite amount of wisdom about the topic. They see things differently and leave no stone unturned. Mavens will give you insight into areas of your business you may not have thought about.
Salespeople are men and women who are highly persuasive. They have the ability to get people to understand the importance of something. It’s just plain hard to say no to a sale person because they’re so credible and convincing. Salespeople will help take an idea you have and present it in a way that it will spread.
CREATING YOUR OWN TIPPING POINT
We all posses some of these traits to one degree or another, but some people have them in abundance.
And here's the kicker - your ability to identify these traits in yourself and others can be fantastic for business. A useful exercise is to critically examine your strengths in these three areas. Where are you strongest and weakest? When you have a clear picture you’ll begin to see what kinds of people might compliment you best.
You may, for example, have an incredible amount of knowledge and skill in a particular clinical area. But maybe you aren’t the greatest at selling your services, or maybe you’re a bit of an introvert and don’t have a lot of connections.
Find that someone who does possess those traits, and you’ll be surprised how far it takes you. It just might be the best marketing strategy you ever use.
David P. Diana is a counselor, author, and a director for a behavioral healthcare organization. He writes a weekly blog on sales and marketing for counselors (www.davidpdiana.com)