What is a Value-Added Connector and How Does it Impact Business Networking?
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Have you heard the term “value-added connector”? If not, it’s OK, you might already be one and just don’t know it yet. If you aren’t quite a value-added connector just yet, then maybe you’ll work on becoming one after reading this.
So, what is a value-added connector? Well, simply put, a value-added connector is someone who adds value to their connections. Pretty self-explanatory, right? There is more to it than that. A value-added connector is a person who knows that relationships are built on both giving and receiving, though they prefer to give much more than they receive. This is also a person who seeks to add value to everything they do.
Being a value-added connector can greatly impact your business networking, but how exactly can you add value? For starters, you can add value through your conversations with your peers. If you can bring new thoughts and ideas to the conversation, you can add value for those within your network. Perhaps you can help your connections come up with a new way to think about a problem, or maybe you challenge an idea to help them work through it in a little more detail. Adding value to a conversation shows those inside your business network that you’re able to think outside the box and you don’t just stick with the status quo. This will prompt them to come to you when they have something they are working on and need advice.
You can also add value to your network by introducing them to new connections. These connections don’t have to be potential clients. These can just be new connections to help them expand their own network. If you know someone within your network is looking for a person in the Human Resources field to bounce ideas off of, then you can introduce them to one of your HR connections. This situation is mutually beneficial for all of you. It helps both of your connections meet someone they might not have met previously, and it helps to show both of them that you’re able to add value to your relationships. This will help in the future because they will be more eager to assist you if you need a connection.
Introducing connections within your business network to new clients is another way to add value to the relationship. If you work in the marketing field and one of your clients needs help designing their website, then maybe you know an excellent web designer you can connect them with. This is again mutually beneficial. Your client gets a beautifully designed new website, your web designer friend gets a new client, and you build up the level of trust with both of them. Your client will most likely continue using your services and will even recommend you to their own network, and the web designer will help to direct new clients to you when their own clients have a need that you can assist with.
One final example of being a value-added connector comes from introducing those within your network to a product or service that you provide. This doesn’t mean you randomly reach out to people within your network and try to sell them something. This means you know they have a problem and you can provide them with a solution. An example of this would be a person in your network who is a restaurant owner mentioning that they need help with their social media marketing. If your expertise is in marketing, you can connect with them and offer them some general advice on improving their marketing efforts. You are still adding value because you see that they have a problem and you are attempting to help them solve it without asking for anything in return. Don’t try to sell your services, leave it up to them to decide if they want to expand on the relationship.
It’s easy to see how being a value-added connector can help to improve your business networking. If your business connections see that you bring value, they are more likely to reach out to you and work with you. Networking isn’t just about connecting with people because you want them to do something for you; it’s about connecting with people to build genuine relationships and to help each other grow. When you are a value-added connector, you not only help yourself and your business grow, but you also help those within your network grow, too.