Business Networking, not like Speed Dating
July 28th, 2016
It is easier to sell more to an existing customer than to acquire a new one. Everybody seems to agree on that. But why? Because the pre-existing relationship can be leveraged.
If you accepted 100 connection requests on LinkedIn, could you immediately turn them into customers or trusted business partners? Of course not, you would need to nurture these relationships over time just like people you met in other circumstances, such as social and professional events. But similarly to Speed Dating, public social networks require both parties to expose a lot of information about themselves, via their profiles, before a connection is accepted. Therefore, they are good “passive prospecting” platforms. (Remember LinkedIn is primarily a “passive recruiting” platform.”)
But the people who can really help you move the needle today in your business are the people you already know. People you have encountered in all the places where you’ve worked, studied, played, volunteered, and communed. These are your real networks.
Consider how much time you should spend on making new connections on public social networks and how much time you should spend on leveraging existing relationships and networks. Reachable reduces the effort needed to leverage all your and your company’s networks. It could be one of the smartest investments you make.
But for many people, especially people in sales and business development, sending 100 Connection requests and seeing who will find you worthy of an Accept is exciting. We all crave acceptance, it’s human nature. Just like Speed Dating — it’s all about the conquest and winning. But customers are different. They need to know that they can trust you, that you will go the extra mile for them and that you will tell them when there are bumps in the road so they can protect themselves. It will take more than a 3-minute Speed Date or a Connect to convince them that you are that person. So, in the meantime, leverage the relationship you already have, there is plenty of gold there.