I did an analysis of where my clients have come from recently. The majority of new clients come from existing or past clients - people they know, who like, know and trust them, and therefore are willing to get to like, know and trust me.
Often these new clients are 2nd and 3rd degree connections of my clients and past clients. This is not suprising given their first degree connections are like mine, mostly pals not prospects.
What is interesting is entering new markets where I don’t have existing or past clients and yet someone in their network or mine knows someone in these markets and relationships are built from there. This is where the tools of the internet such as LinkedIn come in, and where there is leverage from so called weak-ties.
This December 2012 article by LinkedIn Chairman Reid Hoffman is well worth exploring. It’s about the power of your 2nd and 3rd degree connections.
Reid refers to Dunbar’s Law.
I personally use this law to invest in relationships by focusing on about 150 people and following a carefully thought through sequence and frequency of staying in touch with them. I use tools like LinkedIn to stay in touch with a much larger number of people which for me means I have no trouble in always having 150 people in my primary circle.
My focus is about adding value as perceived by others. I know that giving value first, without attachment to getting back, eventually leads to clients.
As an example I recently gave one of my Changing What’s Normal books to someone I believed would value it. In passing I said “Please pass it on to someone else after you have got value from it yourself.” They did. I am now building a relationship of high value and mutual reward with this person who I previously had never met.
How are you adding value to people you want to do business with?
How easy is it for people to pass on what you give them to others?
Do you encourage people to pass on what you give them?
Are you referring your 2nd and 3rd degree connections to others?
Are you referring/recommending your first degree connections too?
If you are like me these people are your pals more than your prospects. Helping our pals to grow their slice of the pie, without attachment to getting back, is part of the puzzle too!
I reckon your answers to these questions will help you to focus and achieve more of what you want and less of what you don’t want in your business.
Be the difference you want to see in the world.