Be a Connector

Be a Connector

As much as our world has changed due to technology, it is still a back scratching world. Meaning we need to be a connector. People get lost in Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter self promoting like a life insurance salesman at a wiener roast. The only difference is online you can’t see them physically running from you. People do not like to be sold in person and that doesn’t change online either. We need to learn to be a connector in order to truly grow our business level referrals that ultimately we all want and are looking for online.

To be a connector we must first be willing to help someone else in their business with no expectation of receiving anything in return.” What? That is going to take my precious time and may not get anything in return”. Yes, you heard me correctly, go give of your time and talents to another business owner and expect nothing in return. This goes against the grain of most people. It is the number one rule of networking. BNI, Business Networking International refers to this phenomenon as Givers Gain. Psychologically, if I give you a referral or help you in your business, you will still feel obligated to give me something of value back for my business without expectations. Sometimes, you will need to give a lot in order for this person to reciprocate, but eventually people do reciprocate.

Really good networking takes time, maybe years to build a trust to have an ongoing profitable relationship. It starts with you. No one out there has identified you as the person they want to give to. You must earn that position. After all it is called networking, not net-wishing or net-sitting or net-eating. You have to work at this skill. A good networker goes into to an event with an expectation of helping someone else grow their business. They talk to people to find out how their business works and how they might best be able to help them not the other way around.  This is a crucial step to becoming a connector. How can you connect a business with their ideal client unless you take the time to learn about their business enough to identify the perfect referral?

Once the relationship is established the work doesn’t stop. It is just as much work to keep that profitable relationship following referrals and help both ways as it was to initially establish the relationship. It is hard to gain but easy to lose. This person can quite literally become your Goose that laid the Golden Egg.  But speaking from experience and having several really good referral sources, it is totally worth it. Most referrals that contact me are buyers, I don’t have to sell any products, and I just help them make their decision with the right product to fit their unique situation. If you want inbound referral business to flow your way, be a connector. There is no short cut.

A business exists to create a customer—Peter F Drucker

Image by BrandonSigma at www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Tim Wilhoit is owner/principal of Your Friend 4 Life Insurance Agency in Nashville, TN. He is a family man, father of 3, entrepreneur, insurance agent, life insurance broker, salesman, sales trainer, recruiter, public speaker, blogger and team leader with over 26 years of experience in sales and marketing in the insurance and beverage industries.

18 Responses to Be a Connector

  • Good perspective, Tim- thanks for sharing! The best line “promoting like a life insurance salesman at a wiener roast.”

  • Thank you for your kind words Jamie, I am glad you enjoyed it.

  • Hey Tim I like this part because it’s 100% correct: ‘To be a connector we must first be willing to help someone else in their business with no expectation of receiving anything in return’

    This is the free entitlement society in which consumers use and expect services for free such as: LinkedIn, Facebook, YouTube, Pinterest,and the hundreds of other services.

    As I was building my new website (http://www.videoproductioncincinnati.net/) I had written about this very subject, and in the final edits I did not include it on my website…you beat me to the punch! Great info though…I am going to set up an account on one of my sites so you can post directly to it instead of waiting for me! (Way too busy)

  • Creating ‘how to’ videos…we did it for a roofing contractor and his video is already on the first page and first spot organically…insurance agents can create ‘how to’ videos to capture the attention of prospects.

  • Jack, I knew when I wrote this blog I was preaching to the choir with you. There are still a lot of insurance agents and small business owners that have not evolved that far yet. I believe anyone struggling with this concept should purchase your services and turn their business around. Most people don’t know what they don’t know yet.

  • That is too funny! I agree, spoke with a successful real-estate agent today locally here in Cincinnati and he was estimating only around 5% of real estate agents are now investing in online marketing…it really works as you are well aware…and I agree you just don’t know what you don’t know until you put your foot in the water! (The water is fine and we are making some serious $$$ by means of our insurance lead generation)

  • What a huge opportunity for you my friend. 95% of realtors still in the dark ages will equal big buck$ for you! Keep up the good work!

  • Absolutely true in business and in life…..if you send good out, eventually good boomerangs back to you. Feels nice too when you connect others with someone who either benefits them as a client or as a new referral source.

  • Patsy, thank you for the kind words. I am glad you agree and enjoyed my article. You are obviously doing things the right way!

  • Thank You for this information Tim. I will most definitely will be applying this to my sales. I can’t thank you enough for sharing your sales techniques. I know I pay close attention and have applied it. Which honestly can say over time, I believe is paying off. Thank you Tim Wilhoit and anyone one else that shares their idea’s and techniques. They are all greatly appreciated!!!

  • Chanda, thank you for the kind words, I always enjoy sharing ideas with the next generation of our industry. I wish you much continued success!

  • Tim thank you for posting! I’m thrilled to say that I am a trusted resource/connector. It is a tremendous blessing to have a terrific network of givers I’m able to share with clients and colleagues. My advice to new business owners is to start developing relationships from day one. Figure out who the ethical trustworthy owners are and build relationships with them. You’ll start to be known for your great resources and being a connector of quality folks.

  • Thank you for the kind words Sue. You obviously are a CONNECTOR, and it sounds like a very good one. I really appreciate your sharing!

  • Thank You and Have a Fabulous day Tim!

  • Thanks for the advice Tim, will certainly give it a try.

  • This is an interesting question. Which is why I love it when innovative thinkers take all problems associated with traditional models and find solutions for the future. My company has built a system that is structured to make every agent a connector which is definitely key! Great question.

  • Thank you Terry, I am glad someone is starting to teach it. Thank you for sharing.

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