- The average number of connections on Linkedin is 930 – and yet few of those connections (if any) are adding value to your business, and vice versa
- Successful businesses are built on successful relationships
- Networking is traditionally transactional, but the goal of connecting shouldn’t be reciprocation.
The average number of connections on LinkedIn is 930. Whether you’re above or below average, consider this: How many of these ‘connections’ are actually adding value to your career, your business, or your life in general?
If you want to see true success in your business relationships, you need to stop networking, according to Young Entrepreneur Council founders Scott Gerber and Ryan Paugh in their book Superconnector: Stop Networking And Start Building Business Relationships That Matter.
Instead, you need to focus on the quality of the connections you’re building, rather than the quantity of the people you’ve met.
The big idea: People do business with people, not other businesses
“You can’t build a successful business without building successful relationships,” says real-estate mogul and judge on Shark Tank US, Barbara Corcoran.
This is why Shawn Theunissen, Executive Corporate Social Responsibility at Growthpoint Properties and founder of Property Point, believes that fundamentally people do business with people. “There needs to be culture match and fluency in terms of relations to make the job easier. As a general rule, the ease of doing business increases if there is a culture match.”
What’s in it for you: Provide ongoing value and receive continuous value in return
While networking is traditionally transactional, the goal of connecting has less to do with furthering your own business or career and is more about providing ongoing value to the other person without assuming reciprocation.
“The network relationship is only as strong as the amount of value you can provide to one another,” say Stacey Ferreira, co-founder and CEO of Forge. “When you provide value, you receive value in return.”
Plus, it’s always a good idea to find touch points with your network, says Darrah Brustein, founder of Network Under 40. “Few things are better than reaching out because you have value to add by making an introduction, or by asking if they’ll speak with someone because of the value they offer, and you’ve noticed that.”
Make it happen
As you start meeting new people in person or online, you may want to try these 3 approaches to nurture relationships that are mutually beneficial:
- Do more than just giving out business cards and ‘adding’ connections to your LinkedIn profile. That isn’t connecting. Make an effort to create an ongoing rapport.
- Don’t just reach out when you need to call in a favour. You don’t want a reputation of only connecting with others when you want a recommendation, sale, or introduction to another connection.
- If you need something, ensure you’re not asking right away. “Going in for the kill at the first interaction is not an effective strategy. In fact, it will get you nowhere fast,” advises writer, personal brand strategist and author Marietta Gentles Crawford.