Top contacts: Why it pays to share details

It’s worth considering your value to a given contact, not just what they mean to you
Individuals and businesses lose out because of precious behaviour
A LOT of people have achieved a favourable position by having attractive and important contacts in their little black books. The most logical scenario is to keep those cards close to your chest. But this is the wrong approach.
Some time ago, I had a meeting with an employee in a large bluechip organisation. He was to arrange an important event for their biggest client. To make it a success, he had to ask for help from colleagues who had some of the most important contacts.
But when he asked them to help, he found that they were reluctant to cooperate with him and back the arrangement. The event ended up being attended by fewer and far less important participants than had been expected – which again resulted in a poor result for the company. Although many resources had been spent on it, the return on investment was dramatically reduced.
Is this a unique story? Unfortunately not. We all know that it’s a frequent occurrence in large and small businesses alike. Some employees regard important business relations as private property that can be activated when it suits them and to create value for their own advantage. Effective networking, however, involves sharing contacts for the benefit of everyone.

DON’T KEEP THE GOLDEN EGGS TO YOURSELF

It is quite understandable that people want to keep their golden eggs to themselves. You work hard building up your contacts, after all. But this is not effective networking. First, consider why your contact would drop you if you are worth having in their network? Asking to introduce them to others, in moderation, will make no difference. If you have built a good and stable network, the likelihood of losing your contact is almost non-existent.

CONSIDER THE SITUATION FROM SOMEONE ELSE’S PERSPECTIVE

Second, how will your contact react to the fact that you appreciate them so much that you recommend them to others? Even those in demanding roles will usually be flattered.
And think about the same thing from your colleague’s point of view: what kind of relationship will they establish with you if you share one of your great contacts with them? It’s not something most people usually forget. You do not run any risk by sharing good contacts. On the contrary, it is likely to be a win-win situation for everybody.

POOL AND SHARE YOUR CONTACTS

Finally, there are big gains for both individual employees and the entire business if you pool and share your contacts. Generally speaking, you can achieve almost everything if you join forces – not least because many companies do not have the courage to do it. In other words, pooling good contacts means the whole will be bigger than the sum of the parts. And it’s entirely free of charge.
Simone Andersen is author of The Networking Book: 50 Ways to Develop Strategic Relationships (LID Publishing).

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