“It’s not always the most popular person who gets the job done.”
-Gordon Gekko, Wall Street
Are You A LION? WHY?
I have had the privilege of working with leaders from over 1,000 companies over the years. My personality is one that suggests I have never met a stranger. Networking is something intuitive for me, yet I find the idea of LinkedIn Open Networker (LION) appalling. In fact, I would rate it one step above a cold caller who believes the phone book is a list of your personal contacts.
(NOTE: For my younger readers, a phone book is a huge listing of households and businesses every land-line telephone number in a particular city or metropolitan area. These used to be provided free of charge for everyone and delivered to your house annually. The most impressive use I ever saw of an actual phone book was seeing it ripped in two in a feats of strength act at a school assembly.)
Big Data Is Not All Its Cracked Up To Be
Algorithms rule the world. Everything is math. Data is meant to be crunched. But, not all data.
According to my LinkedIn profile, my “network” has over 1,700 connections. If you quickly do the math of “connections of connections of connections” I apparently have a “reach” of about 4 gazillion people. The problem is, most of those people, until I offer a bit of knowledge useful to THEM, do not care about me or the connections I have. The point here is NOT about how many connections one has, rather, it is about the quality of those connections that truly counts. For the record, I have personally interacted or held some kind of conversation with nearly every one of the people I am connected to on LinkedIn. (There are most certainly a few who slipped by me in a weak moment or as result of some long forgotten exchange.)
Add Value First, Reward Will Follow
If you speak as part of promoting your business, you should encourage your audience members to connect with you. LinkedIn, however, may not be the most appropriate place. Friends you met at a party, but don’t necessarily have any significant common ground with professionally, likely are good enough for Facebook. If you find someone’s perspectives interesting, but not sure you are willing to commit to more than an arm’s length admission, Twitter works great. Should you have a meaningful exchange with someone under the auspices of business, however, LinkedIn is likely appropriate.
In a previous article, I shared how you could leverage connections you have collected on Facebook into your business world. Whether you are “old hat” with LinkedIn or just getting started, I recommend beginning to build value with people you already “know”.
Say It. Don’t Spray It!
Plenty of people claim to be “networking experts”. I have known many over the years. The problem is, if they have to TELL YOU they are a “networking expert”, I would offer they probably have a large of business cards, but no earthly idea of what to do with all of those contacts. Here’s a photo of what I found in the desk of a previous co-worker who complained he wasn’t able to generate more sales:
If only he had ever just tried to contact half of those cards to learn what problems they needed help with TODAY.
Here’s the gold:
Find out what problems or challenges your contacts are needing help with today and connect them with someone else you know who can offer assistance or BEST SOLVE that problem! Just GET INVOLVED with your network!
Hey, LIONs: Less IS More!
Stop collecting connections and building a useless “network” of people with whom you never actually get to know, interact, or connect!
In my experience, a list of 100 people you know well and interact with regularly with a specific message yields much greater results than building a long list of people whom you hope, pray, and wish someday might buy from you. Be of assistance to your network and you will build a loyal following for life. Who knows, they might even refer some business your way.
Scott Cooksey works with organizations to build sustainable, lasting, profitable relationships with clients and reignite the power of teams. Learn more about how he can work with your organization or speak at your event by visiting www.IdeaCharger.com.