One of the biggest mistakes people make when building a commercial network, is that they focus too much on numbers. However, the size of a network by itself is of limited value. Building a large, low value commercial network is actually a low leverage activity and counter-productive!
Networking isn’t just about numbers
This is because the value of a commercial network is always based on 3 things:
1. The calibre of contacts in your network.
2. The quality of your relationships with your contacts.
3. Having the right number of people in your network.
The reason for this is simple. Firstly, as human beings we are obviously all of equal value. However, in each industry or profession there are some people who are more influential than others. If you know these influential people, you can benefit from their influence. If you don’t know them – you can’t!
Secondly, if you network with a group of people, even influential people, but they don’t really ‘know’ you and you have no real relationship with them; they are highly unlikely to be of any tangible value to you or your business. People recommend, partner with, support (and buy from) people they know and trust.
Thirdly, you need to be connected with as many of these influential / credible people as required; in order for you to get the help, support or referrals etc you need. The correct size for your network will depend on the industry or profession you are in and what you hope to achieve.
Twitter and targeted networking
Ironically, by engaging like-minded people (rather than focusing on numbers), I’ve attracted over 18,000 followers on twitter; my primary online network! Because I tend to keep my conversations around marketing and social media, I have attracted people into my twitter network, who by default are interested in my areas of expertise.
Little wonder that I now regard my network of twitter associates, as one of my businesses most valuable assets.
Over to you!
What are your tips for developing effective networks, either online or offline? Share your tips and ideas in the comments section below.