Last night I was at the Social Media Club Melbourne event. (Side note – YAY for getting a shout out from the Problogger himself, even if it thoroughly embarrasses you.) After the panel ended, I *may* have been proudly showing off my new Haul bag to anyone who would listen. I then made the comment that networking is expensive.
On the train home, I realized how ruthless that sounded. I didn’t buy that bag because I wanted to connect with the owner, Scott. He’s awesome and I know we’ll have the chance for a decent conversation at some point. I did it because I don’t like recommending a product unless I have experienced it. This is why I stand out as a connector. My goal with this post is to give a bit of an insight behind the scenes of what I do.
Spending money makes you a better filter
I get given a lot of stuff to review. We are talking close to $10’000 worth of stuff. Ebooks, courses, seminars. Half of it comes from existing contacts and the other half comes from word of mouth. Over the past two years I would have spent at least $6000 on infoproducts. I would have spent more if my finances didn’t limit me. This isn’t because I needed the material. It was so I could make an accurate recommendation.
When you make a financial transaction, you are in the same mindset as other buyers. You have the same fears and hopes. You aren’t getting the special treatment from your mates. You are getting the exact same experience that most people would get.
What I loved about going to Haul was that Ann was friendly, knowledgable and helpful. She brought the celebrity canine down so I could have a snuggle. She gave me background about the product. She didn’t know I was going to blog about it.
I will go out of my way to help people who acknowledge me and help me.
This stems from having an anxiety disorder and having a lot of insecurities about how I fit in the social media/corporate world. When I was very ill, some people treated me poorly including some of the support services that were meant to help me. As a result, I have very little time for people who are just after favors or want to use me.
Usually, I’ll decide that I’ll want to help someone and then make the first contact. With Scott, I did this at Connect Now. I told him I was interested in the messenger bags but didn’t understand why they were, in my tiny budgets opinion, expensive. He took me very seriously and explained the extra time that went into creating the product. The other times I’ve met him he has remembered my tweets, inquired about aspects of my personal life and congratulated me on my small successes.
Basically, Scott was able to demonstrate that he wasn’t in this scene for what he can get out of it. That was one of the major factors behind my purchasing decision. I didn’t necessarily want the product now but I knew I wanted to show it off and talk about it.
If I am thinking of talking about you, I will ask for recommendations
I was driving to the Dandenongs with a friend just before I went to the Social Media Club, and I mentioned how I wanted to drop into Haul. Lane told me about how impressed he was with the service at Haul. He phoned up wanting a Macbook sleeve and they didn’t make the one in the size he was after. Scott was able to direct him to two other companies that could help.
This works in the opposite way. At the same event, I was talking to a friend who had worked with someone who was getting a bad reputation. While the service was initially good, she got treated poorly when she decided to leave. I had heard similar things from other people and as such will not be researching her because I don’t want to recommend someone who will screw over of my friends.
I am putting my reputation on the line
I know that people buy my products, and those I recommend, because I have personal experience with everything I talk about. I don’t bullshit. It makes me feel sick if someone buys something that I know is poor quality and I could have stopped them. I can see the potential in people and will connect them with whatever they need to kick arse.
What most people don’t see is the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. The long emails to those who are wanting advice on what product to buy. Talking for ages on skype, google chat and in real life so you can learn enough to make a proper recommendation of them. Messages saying that ‘such and such is amazing and can really help you.’
I’m getting a reputation as a connector. It’s a skill and one that I’m leveraging to help others. However, I wont recommend someone unless I am 100% confident they wont screw over my friends. That’s what all this hard work boils down too.
I work this hard because I like helping people. I have a skill and am an incredibly good judge of character. Just be awesome like Paul Cunningham, Jonathan Fields or Scott and I will work so hard to help you out.
Note: The Haul business is no longer operating. The bag is still a favourite.