List photo from ShutterstockYou’ve heard the statement, it’s not who you know or even what you know, it’s not even who knows you – it’s who knows you best.

The connections and the relationships we have with people determine the quality of success in our endeavors. Even with our reach online and across the world, people still do business with people they know, like and trust.

As a business professional, the care, nurturing and development of “your list” determines how long you last as a professional or expert in your field. Grow and develop that great list and your great connections on that list will be your avid brand advocates, supporters, mentors, referral sources, trusted vendors, great clients and friends.

• What do you do to develop and care for your list? 
• How do you stay in contact? 
• How up-to-date is the information on your list?

When you stay connected with people in your list you:

1. Have a better idea of the big picture

For both you and them, you know where they’re headed and how you can assist or connect them with resources (or people – your own connections) who can help them achieve their goals.  In that same vein, they also know what your “big picture” is and they can assist, make connections, open doors, provide recommendation and referrals to help you succeed.

2. Become more valuable

You’ve heard the statement: Be interested to be interesting. This same thought applies here. When you value someone and they feel valued, they value you more. They see you as a core part of their life, operations, business, company, cause or endeavor.

And, you can also reciprocate by being a clear connection for them to the people within your contact sphere and vice versa.

3. You stay “in the know”

Connected people who have developed know, like and trust with someone share information, good news, new happenings, details and specifics of opportunities.

Want to see this in action? Watch someone who is not well connected at a conference and see their interaction (or lack of). Then watch someone who is well connected as they interact at a conference.   They’re immediately included in discussion about best practices or trends.

Business and thought leaders rely on their personal connections to find the best resources available and even possible. [tweet this]

4. Are more productive

It’s easier to make a decision on key players and resources when you have a trusted connection provide the information, feedback or third party validation. When this happens, you can move forward more quickly into project/activities and thus you become more productive. While some may look at well-connected people as putting “too much value on social”, those social connections can yield results that may not ever have been possible for an individual to carry out on their own or would take years to produce results.

Take care of your list. Stay connected with and sincerely interested in them. Your connections are that important.