It's 2023-03-13 and I had just finished a catch-up call with a good friend of mine. He's close to selling a company for a relatively small but still very significant amount of money. This is a big deal for him. The company is in the tech-adjacent space, and is selling to a startup company more directly in the tech space.
We get on the call and I ask him how the sale is going and he says "have you been following the Silicon Valley Bank story?"
I had a forehead-slapping "I was following this story; how could I not have already thought about how this would affect my friend!!" moment. I had all the dots in my head but I didn't connect them.
How many people who are well-positioned to refer clients to us have a similar "near miss" in connecting the dots?
How much of this is due to our negligence, and how much of that "didn't connect the dots" gap can we realistically close?
I don't have a great answer except, "some of it".
I'd love your thoughts on this. Substack comments are on. If you would benefit from a specific question prompt, use this one: How could you or a business like yours become more memorable so that the right people connect the dots to you?
David makes a great point here about when another, unprompted, talk about you to their peers.
I think the dotable connection, so to speak, also stands out when you're someone who presents a consistently unique, courageous, or interesting point of view that isn't always the mainstream thought.
A good friend of mine died tragically in a plane crash in 2011. He was among the most insightful folks I knew - and I've missed his commentary greatly over the past decade - because he was consistently unique and interesting in his points of view.
It's part of why I think writing good content regularly and sharing a point of view is important for leaders, consultants, and others in the spheres in which we operate.
I'm possibly missing the deeper significance of that question, but I think the best evidence that there is a "dotable connection" is when third parties, unprompted, talk about you to their peers. They see something once (say, on LinkedIn) and it doesn't really register. But a few days later they see your name again, unrelated to the first mention. All of a sudden they begin to LOOK for further clues, and suddenly you are on their radar.
Aside from that, it sometimes depends on the connectible person to find those dots. "Oh, you like motorcycles? Or you travel to that place every summer? Or you went to that college?" The most interesting people ask a lot of questions and store those possible connections in their head, and then the dots get connected seamlessly.