January 5, 2021

Passing the Connection Monkey

How often do the connections you make work out? What does it even mean for a connection to “work out?”

I’m connected to about fifty new people every week from my network – some because we share similar hobbies or interests, some because the connector saw a potential synergy between our businesses, and some because… well, I’m not really sure.

People often make connections just for the sake of making connections. I had a recent experience with this very thing.

A connection story…

I made a connection between one of my trusted advisors and a business owner I had recently met. For the sake of the story, we’ll call this business owner John (his name wasn’t actually John).

Based on my trusted advisors’ industry and the niche John works in, I thought there was a potential synergy.

The next day, I got a call from my trusted advisor. “He (John) spent the whole 30-minutes pitching himself to me,” my trusted advisor told me.

I felt bad that the connection I made didn’t work out. The next thing my trusted advisor said surprised me. “So, I think I’m just going to connect him with Jane Doe (another fake name) and be done with it.”

I asked him why. “He made a connection between me and someone who I think could be a potential referral partner.”

“So, do you think there will be a synergy between him and Jane Doe?” I asked.

“Well,” he began. “I’m not really sure because I know he doesn’t do business with Jane’s industry. Plus, I think Jane will absolutely hate the way he pitches.”

My trusted advisor had good intentions. He got value from John, so he wanted to give some back in return. The problem is that connecting him with Jane Doe doesn’t actually benefit anyone.

A good networker gives without seeking to get anything in return. So, why, when a good networker gets something, should he be required to give something back? He shouldn’t.

If there isn’t a good connection to make, then don’t make a connection. A “wrong-fit” connection is just wasting both people’s valuable time.

My trusted advisor wanted to give value by making the connection between John and Jane Doe. But the two were not good connections for one another. By making this connection, my trusted advisor would be robbing John and Jane Doe of their most valuable asset – time.

When people make connections for the sake of making connections, I call it passing the connection monkey. When people connect without intention, they are passing the connection monkey.

Connecting with INTENTION.

Instead of making connections “willy-nilly,” what would happen if we made better connections that were strategic for both parties?

Intention is the foundation of connections. Without it, the connection you make will crumble and become a waste of everyone’s time.

You need to clarify the intention of your connection to both parties or it will be just another meeting to have a meeting. I’d say that about 9 out of 10 connections without a strategy or direction go to waste (and that’s being generous).

What kind of intentions should you have before making a connection? Maybe one person would potentially benefit from the other’s services. Maybe they work in the same industry and could benefit as referral partners. Maybe their businesses aren’t very similar at all, but they’re both passionate about fishing.

Whatever the intention is, let both parties being connected know before making the connection. This also gives the person the chance to say – “no, I actually don’t think that someone in that industry would be a good connection,” saving everyone time.

Stacking the connection cards in your favor

Once you make a connection, are you following up? If not, this is a sign you are just passing the connection monkey.

You should be invested in the connections you make. You should take pride in them. Once you make a connection, you should become excited about all the great business opportunities you will see arise between the two parties.

Following up also “stacks the connection cards in your favor.” Many times, people become so busy with their work that they forget to follow up and continually build rapport with their connections.

Amazing potential business opportunities have been burnt to dust in a fiery pool of forgetfulness. Your job when you make a connection is to make sure that does not happen.

Making connections should involve intention and strategy. Without it, you are just passing the connection monkey and wasting everyone’s time.

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