So what exactly is a connector, anyway? And how are they different from a networker?
Networkers are collectors of relationships, almost for the sake of having them. The actual networking activity may have an objective, but that objective is often self-serving.
It’s like the guy on LinkedIn who invites everyone to connect, whether he knows them or not. He probably just wants to add them to an email list.
Connectors have a different approach.
Connectors bring two people together for their mutual benefit, even if there is no immediate benefit for the connector.
Connectors are givers. They add value by connecting people who should know each other. The reward, if they do this regularly, is the reputation they earn as a connector.
It’s kind of like a matchmaker. If you do it once or twice, people don’t think of you as a matchmaker. If you do it all the time, your reputation becomes solidified.
Why You Want to Be a Connector
When you’re a connector, people will start coming to you to be connected. You become the connection hub. That means people will also start introducing you to others who they feel you should know.
Instead of doing all the work and trying to find people to add to your network, you’ll be introduced to new opportunities. In other words, if you add value to every relationship, new relationships will eventually come to you.
This not only makes it much easier to expand your network, but it also gives you access to opportunities that you wouldn’t otherwise have.
What This Means for Lawyers
There is an inherent benefit to being a connector when you’re a lawyer. People come to you with problems. You can position yourself as a trusted adviser who can help clients and referral partners gain access to others who can help them.
You’re uniquely situated to be a connector based on what you do as a lawyer. It requires less work because you have a stream of opportunities to connect people.
Think about your clients. How can you help them in other aspects of their lives? What kind of people would they benefit from knowing? Who specifically could you connect them with so both sides find value in the relationship?
Even if you never got paid for an introduction or referral, how much more valuable would you be to your clients if you could connect them with other people and resources?
After Your Legal Work Is Done…
What will your client do next? Who can help them achieve their next goal? A wealth manager? An insurance professional? A chief financial officer?
The specifics will depend on your practice and the individual client. The more important overall point is that you give value by making connections.
The first step is building awareness. Do you know enough about your clients outside of the office to be a connector for them?
If not, get to know them so you can help them.
When a friend, colleague or client of any of the people who you’ve connected need an attorney, who do you think will get the referral?