Admittedly, 100 quality business connections are superior to 400 random ones. I cannot dispute that. However, it’s rarely the either-or proposition that quantity vs. quality suggests.
For example, you connect with 500 people whom you carefully select, and you hope that all will be great connections. You later discover that 100 are fine connections and that the remaining 400 are questionable ones. Of your 100 fine connections, 20 really shine, but only four of them become clients or employees.
Quantity a Prerequisite for Quality
Beware of those who discount quantity in their quest for quality business contacts. In practice, they end up with neither one, since quantity is a prerequisite for quality.
Comments are welcome — of course.
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I cannot be everything to everybody.
I know I can’t.
I realized that a long time ago. I’ve learned to choose who I want to be to the people who matter most to me.
Business Analysis Example
I’m a business analyst. There are lots of business analysts in the world, but how many of them specialize in marketing and customer analysis like I do? Very few indeed.
And how many rely as heavily on intuition and instinct as I do? Even fewer.
Looking for somebody to do your P&L analyses? Not me. Go talk to a finance type. There are tons of them with MBA degrees waiting to hear from you.
Want to assess a takeover target? Again, not me. Go find somebody who’s into merger and acquisitions to help.
Need to track your marketing or determine how much your customers are worth? Now that is me. Give me a call, and I’ll talk your head off for hours about customer acquisition and customer retention, because that’s definitely my thing.
Network Marketing Example
I admit it. I’m also a network marketer.
I have lots of expertise in online social networking at social networking sites, blog marketing and search engine optimization. I was networking online way before it was cool, and I’m continuously sharpening my blogging and SEO skills.
Do I know the three foot rule? Of course I do, but so does everybody else in the network marketing business.
Can I make a list of family, friends and acquaintances? You bet I can — I’ve done it more than once — but is there one successful networker who can’t?
On the other hand, how many network marketers are Internet savvy? How many of them prospect and network online and enjoy it as I do?
Breaking Away from the Pack
I like to learn from teachers such as Diane Hochman and Mike Dillard, because they too have broken away from the pack. As Diane often says, “When people are zigging, you have to zag.” She’s a lady I want to get to know much better. That’s a big reason why I joined My Private Classroom.
A reader recently complained that my articles were neither timely nor did they provide information she couldn’t have found elsewhere online.
I basically told her that intelligent and thought-provoking were more important to me than timely. Here too I’ve chosen a focus that works for me.
My Personal Brand Management Approach
The point of this post is that I’ve narrowed my focus, so that I could escape the crowds and stand out more readily. I’ve defined my market, so that I can dominate it.
I prefer to be a leader in my carefully selected fields rather than an also-ran in larger more broadly defined competitive categories.
Avis might have been #2 in the car rental industry, but when they said, “we try harder”, they re-positioned themselves as #1 in car rental customer service.
Redefine Your Market
Do you sell mortgages? Travel? Nutritional products?
Here’s some food for thought. How can you position yourself so that people will see you and think of you as a leader in your market and remember you when they are ready to buy?
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Let me restate my first law of social networking from my previous post.
Law Number 1: Nobody cares what you say until they know that you care.
Once sombody knows that you care they will listen. However, they will listen with one — and only one — question in mind and that is, “What’s in it for me?”
That’s how people listen. You might say that their favorite radio station is WII-FM, “What’s in it for me?”
If you’re marketing a product or service, just about the worst thing you can do is discuss it’s features. Your listener’s reaction will generally be, “So what?” And that’s not good.
You are much better off talking about benefits than features. Discussing benefits answers in advance the “so what” question.
You will be best off if you can get to know what’s important to each person and discuss only the benefits that are relevant to that person. You will connect with his or her desires in a meaningful way, and your success is likely.
Therefore, when you meet a new person you should focus on learning what’s important to that person. Not only will he feel that you care, he will also relate to you those things that matter most to him — and now my friend you’re on the right track!