I spent most of this past week in Scottsdale at a major industry conference for Life Sciences Trainers and Educators (LTEN) – much of my consulting and network-building over the last 2 decades has focused on that community.
(quick hint about Arizona: when it’s over 100 degrees out, that’s probably not the time or place to go for a mile walk outside. This is overheard advice, of course…I’d never do something that stupid…)
I did what I usually do at that event – circulate around, attend sessions, talk to exhibitors, make connections. And there, unexpectedly, I was called by a new (and somewhat amusing) title: Mayor of LTEN (thanks for the vote, Jim!)
That really tickled me. Because, in some way, it has become true – not mayoral in the sense of having a position of official leadership and authority, but more in the sense of…well, knowing everybody in town.
When you invest many years in a defined marketplace, and make a commitment to get to know people and serve them, eventually you end up the reputation of being the go-to person. The super-connector.
And that’s what I want us to think about today.
I’m not the mayor of, say, the entire pharmaceutical realm. I’m not the mayor of corporate training, or branding, or social media, or entrepreneurism. I’m not the mayor of my town (though Franklin, TN is a wonderful place to network!). These realms are all much too broad for one person to be the go-to.
But I’m pretty well embedded in commercial training for pharma and biotech companies. That’s a smaller town, a professional niche.
Just this morning, one of my clients referred another company to me in an e-mail, and here was the wording she used:
I am connecting you to one of the most connected people in the industry.
Steve Woodruff connects businesses – he will be able to provide for you some great options.
I guess it sounds like I’m tooting my own horn here; and, well….maybe I am (I’ve never been elected mayor before!) But it’s a humblebrag for a good cause, because there’s a lesson for all of us:
If you’re a solopreneur, or a small company, do you have a well-enough-defined marketplace that you can, over time, become the “mayor” by your networking efforts? When people point to you and say, “He/she is the go-to for_______________” – how powerful is that position?
Should you aspire to anything less? I consider Mark Schaefer and Jay Baer to be among the small board of mayors in social media marketing. Dave Delaney is the mayor of social media in Nashville. Susan Cain has become the mayor of introverts. Jeremiah Owyang is the mayor of the collaborative economy.
What about your niche? Are you the Mayor? If not, start now to build enough key relationships over time to be “elected”!