A Connection Strategy That Stands The Test of Time

Stories that involve the movie The Shawshank Redemption grab my attention quickly. So when author and speaker Christopher Tuff joined our mastermind as a guest expert- and a story he shared was called “Shawshanking”- I was immensely curious. Tuff, the author of The Millennial Whisperer, is a super connector. 

     Tuff and I connected initially when ghostwriter Nick Pavlidis brought us together for Tuff to interview me for his latest book, Save Your Asks. In that conversation- and each one subsequently- Tuff displayed a mastery of becoming a wealth of connection. Some people want to have it, some work to have it and some just have it. Tuff has it. Each conversation, he astounds me with his ability to form connection, curiosity and engagement with such a wide variety of people. 

     We were chatting a few weeks back when he told me about an encounter he had on a flight home from a speaking gig. For many, it’s common to put headphones on, close their eyes and avoid any type of conversation when they get on an airplane. But Tuff thinks differently.Unlike my fashion boringness, Tuff has a unique style and brand. Even down to the bright colored frames for his glasses, the style is truly him. 

     On this flight, he noticed a harmony in styles with the guy sitting next to him. Initiating a conversation about how their characteristics were similar, they struck up a conversation. While passengers around them slept, Tuff and this stranger began forming a bond. Always on his toes, Tuff gifted a copy of his new book to his new friend. By the end of the flight- after reading some of the book- this new friend was sold on Tuff and his message

A few days later, they chatted by phone. He asked Tuff if he was connected to a certain national talk show host- a name we would all recognize. When Tuff said he wasn’t, this guy said that he would make the connection because his message and book would be great for the show. 

     Now, connection to a highly successful television host doesn’t usually come that easy, even for Tuff. But Tuff learned a longer term method that one of his most successful connections taught him, and it came from The Shawshank Redemption. 

     During one of the scenes in the movie, prisoner Andy Dufrensne wanted to get the library in the prison funded. With nothing else to do, he wrote a letter a week to the government asking for that funding. After two years, the government got so sick of the letters from Dufresne, that they sent him two hundred dollars. But that didn’t stop him. He kept writing letters. Because of that, the government wound up sending enough money to fund the nicest library in the prison system. 

       Tuff spoke to the Total Life Freedom Mastermind about a concept that he calls “Shawshanking.” He mentioned his friend Jason, who he has known since the very beginning of Facebook. Jason and Chris were closing a deal together- and it was the  biggest contract of Jason’s career. 

“As a sales person and networker myself,” Tuff asked him, “how did you do it?”

     “Chris,” Jason turned to him and stated, “I shawshanked you!” 

     “What is that,” Tuff asked with excited curiosity. 

     “Every single week for the last seven years- every single week- I had a touch point with you,” Jason described. “It’s been on text. It’s been on Instagram message. It’s been on email. But every single week, I’ve had a touch point with you and I shawshanked you.” 

      Tuff was so amazed by the process, that he built it into his own connection process. It wasn’t long before he received a call from the CMO from Home Depot, wanting to hire him to be their social media person. But Tuff wasn’t as interested in that as he was in having them be a client for his agency. 

     After their initial meeting, where he declined their offer to be their social media person, Tuff continued to keep in touch. He was honest in telling them that so many social media people are full of garbage that he decided that he wanted to be a resource for them. So instead of being hired to do the work they wanted, he did a great deal to help them without trying to get hired. Tuff did this for fourteen months. It was at that point when Tuff’s agency got their first contract with The Home Depot. 

     That one contract helped create an agency within their agency where there are now a whopping 140 people that work on that one contract. After eight years, they are now one of their biggest clients. And it’s all because of shawshanking. 

       “Shawshanking,” says Tuff, “is all about genuine connection. ‘When you are building those relationships, all you are doing is creating common passion points. And all of my stories- whether it be with Home Depot, or Nike, they wind up becoming some of my best friends. And that is one of the most amazing things about this idea of Shawshanking.” 


Archives

Becoming Unoffendable

   Who are you trying to become?       You might answer that you are trying to become a better parent. It might be that you are working to build a stronger business. Maybe you are trying to become a millionaire, to live a healthy lifestyle or to become the CEO of a corporation. If

Read More »

The Only Two Days That Matter

  “Most people don’t want to be part of the process. They want just want to be part of the outcome. But the process is where you figure out who’s worth being part of the outcome.” – Corey Lohrenz Our kids love Star Wars. I don’t get the obsession. And this is coming from someone who’s

Read More »

Why You Should Stop Being A People Pleaser

One of my greatest strengths in the world of connection is that I’m not a people pleaser. That sounds like an odd strength, doesn’t it? Some would say that it’s not a strength at all, and, in fact, it’s a weakness. I can hear the criticism as I type this.       “Vincent,” I can

Read More »

A Connection Strategy That Stands The Test of Time

Stories that involve the movie The Shawshank Redemption grab my attention quickly. So when author and speaker Christopher Tuff joined our mastermind as a guest expert- and a story he shared was called “Shawshanking”- I was immensely curious. Tuff, the author of The Millennial Whisperer, is a super connector.       Tuff and I connected

Read More »

Success Is Found In The Roots

 Walking into the narrow room to the back of the IHOP in Tampa, I began to question if I should be there. As I walked into the building a minute earlier- with planes flying over arriving and departing from the airport across the street, I smugly questioned why a legitimate meetup would be scheduled here. 

Read More »

How To Get Recognized By Those That You Admire

In The Wealth of Connection, I write about the concept of putting people over. The phrase comes from the world of professional wrestling, where the “superstar” agrees to let the “up and comer” win the match, giving the new guy the boost they need to get the crowd to trust and believe in them.   

Read More »