NRM Top 5 Tip Series: #4 How to Focus on the People Who Matter Most

4 min read

As professionals in business, Screenshot_072815_123739_AMmany of us have large networks that include current and former clients, prospects, intermediaries, influencers, and other participants in our industry. When our network reaches the threshold of 1000 people or more, we simply can’t interact with everyone as effectively as we’d like.  We feel uncomfortable if we have to focus on the people that matter most, but it’s a reality we learn to live with. The benefit is it really focuses us on which relationships yield more or make us more successful. It also helps us use our time wisely. As we get better at managing our network, we can expand our reach to many more people, but the fact is when we focus on the people that matter most, it dramatically increases the likelihood of success.

To help manage this reality, we invented a rating system here at Mindmaven which allows you to assess your entire network based on an individual’s ability to help you be successful in your relationship-based business. The concept is simple. You rate people on their ability to send you the types of referrals you’re interested in and their willingness to send you those referrals. In this system, the top tier of people you know professionally are called “Legends.” Typically a smaller group within your network, Legends are people who are great supporters of your business objectives and with whom you want to deepen the relationship. To learn more, please see our blog post which explains how to rate your network to get the most from it.

Develop closer relationships with people who can send you referrals, and watch your business grow! Tweet this

If you’re excited to get started, I recommend a very simple exercise. Simply identify the people in your network who either historically or in the future have the ability and willingness to send you high-quality referrals in the frequency you would like to see.  This will become a group of people that you now focus on developing closer relationships with because they will help you grow your business. A senior professional who has been in the business more than 10 years may only have 20-30 of these folks. If you’re more junior in your career, you’ll have less of these connections, so now is a great time to start building this group up.

Let’s assume you’re a seasoned professional, and you’re able to identify at least 20 people who you would categorize as Legends. The simplest thing to do is to create an Excel or Google spreadsheet and list the names of your Legends. You could also use a more advanced tool such as Contactually, which is a digital representation of your network that helps you interact with them. The critical thing is to look at your list and ask yourself, “Which people haven’t heard from me in the last 30 days?” Contactually provides reminders automatically for you, but if you use a spreadsheet, you can figure out the names relatively quickly. Next you take this list and estimate the percentage of people who haven’t heard from you in this group. Many people are uncomfortable when they find that up to 70-80% of these contacts haven’t been touched recently enough. This realization has value in itself because it signifies you’re leaving opportunity on the table. Remember, these are people who have the willingness and the ability to send you high-quality opportunities. If you’re not staying top of mind with them, you are missing out!

If you haven’t reached out to your “Legends” lately, it’s like leaving opportunity on the table. Tweet this

The next step is to be pragmatic about what you want to accomplish. If you find that 70-80% of your network hasn’t been touched in awhile, I recommend reaching out to all these people with either an in-person meeting or a video call. I would do nothing less than this because you will increase your mindshare instantly by setting up these meetings. When you meet with them, try to learn what their professional interests and challenges are. If you want to know more about how to create a positive and memorable experience in your face-to-face meetings, take a look at Tip #2 in our previous blog. Then use this information to touch people on a regular basis by sending them value payloads, which are discussed in Tip #3. In this way, the contacts in your network will always think of you as they come across the kinds of referrals you are seeking.

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