I Think People That Limit Their Networks to Only Those They Know Are Making a Huge Mistake
Did you know that statistics show that out of every 100 connections; only 2 or 3 will ever play an important role for you? The question is which 2 or 3 per 100 are the important connections and are you willing to take the chance?
So Why Would You Only Network with Those You Know?
There are many so called networkers that will only connect with people they know. If someone wants to network with one of these people and it is someone that they do not know, the offer to become a Facebook Friend or LinkedIn Connection is rejected. There is no real reason, other than the individual is an unknown.
Interestingly, virtually everyone we know was an “unknown” at one time or another. The exceptions are family members and if we go back far enough, even they were an unknown.
Surprisingly Even LinkedIn Subscribes To This Philosophy
Even LinkedIn encourages this behavior with the “I Don’t Know” or IDK option as it is commonly known. Why would LinkedIn do this? Although I do not know for sure, I do have a hypothesis.
From a LinkedIn perspective, I believe, it is simply to get you to spend money with them. My reasoning here is that if you spend money with a premium membership you have access to In-Mails, which are used to connect with someone that you do not know; only you now have LinkedIn’s blessing in exchange for your money.
According to Webster’s Dictionary networking is: 1 : the exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically : the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.
As I read Webster’s definition I do not see anything that limits your network simply to those you know. In fact it says the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business.
Why Should I Network with People that I Do Not Know?
My answer to this question is an unequivocal YES! I believe in adding anyone until they give you valid reasons for rejecting them. I do not consider the fact that I do not know them to be a valid reason.
Adding people that you do not know to your network expands your sphere of influence and increases your power to develop better answers and solutions to your questions.
Do All Your Opportunities Exist Within Your Current Communities?
If you are in business the question is: Do all of your future customers exist within your current communities or among the people you currently know? Obviously the answer is no. So the next question is if you are not willing to add people that you do not know to your network; how will you reach your new customers? How are you going to make the necessary connections?
Another question is how do you convert a non-customer to being a customer? Most businesses do it through communications. If that is the case, doesn’t it make sense to have these prospects in your network to make the communication process easier?