“Is this seat available?”
“It is for YOUUUU!”
Now that’s a connector.
We've all been there, shuffling down the Southwest aisle, wondering if there will be a seat with a place to stow a bag because, forgetting to check-in at the 24 hour mark, you're in Group B. When I have been one of the lucky seated passengers, I have done all kinds of anti-social things to discourage people from sitting in my row. But not Patti. She is one of those people who say “Welcome to my row and to my world!”
Are you a connector? Connectors are a personality type indentified by Malcom Gladwell in his book The Tipping Point. Simply put, they are people who know a lot of people. Gladwell’s connector test is one of the exercises we do in my word-of-mouth marketing seminars. Participants go through a list of about 250 names taken at random from the phone book and give themselves a point for every person they know with that name. Every time we’ve done the test two or three people emerge who are super connected. Invariably when I ask the group the question, “When you’re on an airplane do you talk to the person next to you?” the connectors always reply, “Yes. Of course. Doesn't everyone?”
You don’t have to be a connector to be a good social media marketer. But you better know who the connectors are in your customer base, stay in touch, and make sure they know about your stuff. They are"influentials" simply because they know a lot of people.
By the end of the flight I knew all about Patti's daughter, the lawyer-to-be, her husband, sitting next to her, the lawyer-is-now. We talked about her son at UC Davis, her work as an intensive care nurse, her garden of flowers, the wines she liked, a beer garden in Chico and a whole lot more. This wasn’t a monologue on her part; I shared as much as she did. She listened avidly to me talk about my own family, my skydive, the marketing seminar I had just done and this blog. By the end of the one hour flight we had shared emails as well as our philosophies of life, and she had extended an invitation to visit Chico with a promise to show me around.
The next time you’re walking down the Southwest aisle, look for Patti. She's probably saving a seat for you.