The following is from our friend and fellow trainer Hazel Walker. We are reposting her “Referral Tip of the Week” here because it challenges the way many people approach networking. Click the Comment button and tell us what you think.
“Excerpted from an email I received on my Linkedin account:
I have 1,500 connections in my networks first tier. My next milestone is 10,000 connections. One of you asked if I know all my connections in my first tier. I know a lot of them but not all of them. Last Friday I met a man from the UK who now has 10,000 people in his first tier and 250,000 in the 2nd and 3rd. He knows most people in his 1st tier due to the fact, that he travels the world and visits local networking meetings.
When I read this email, I was amazed that someone would have 10,000 people in their network. Then I thought about the value of having a network with 10,000 people in it. Here is my list and I am open to your suggestions.
1. I could send all of them my email Tip of the Week and because of the numbers I had, I would be able to get some good advertisers on my newsletter.
2. I could promote my products or services to them.
3. I could sell them something.
4. I could ask them for something, like donations to my charity.
5. I could invite them to participate in passing along a chain letter.
6. I could ask them for information.
If you look at the list, it is all about me, what value they have to me, not what value I could bring to them. Is it a “Network” or a mailing list?
I guess there are the rare people in the world who really know 10,000 people. I know that I am not one of them, while I would like to have 10,000 people on my mailing list to send all of my insightful ideas to; I am not sure that I want or need 10,000 people in my Network.
So, ask yourself, when you are out there networking, “What am I trying to build, a mailing list or a solid network of people whom I can add value to?” A strong network not only helps you build your business, they will add value to your life.
Hazel M. Walker is a Master Trainer for the Referral Institute, she teaches people across the global how to design and implement referral systems in their business. She is a published author as well as a member of the National Speakers Association. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org