You can approach networking in several ways. To be most successful with LinkedIn and in-person networking, decide what your networking philosophy will be. There’s no one “right” answer – the best philosophy for you is the one that fits your business and sales goals, and your personal preferences.
Philosophy #1 – The Quality Philosophy.
People who have this philosophy want to know everyone in their network. They’re likely to know each person more in depth with this philosophy.
For example, before they connect on LinkedIn, they want to:
- Meet in person or in a substantive phone conversation
- Connect with people who have been referred to them by someone they know and trust
- Connect with people who have been referred to them by a trusted professional organization
If you have the Quality Philosophy, you won’t accept every invitation that comes your way on LinkedIn. You’ll schedule regular time to have a phone conversation or coffee with everyone in your network. And stay in touch regularly throughout the year.
Philosophy #2 – The Quantity Philosophy.
People who have this philosophy want everyone in the Universe to be in their network. They also think of themselves as Open Networkers or LIONs (LinkedIn Open Network). They’re meeting more new people if you have this philosophy.
For example, they want to connect with:
- People they know
- People they went to school with
- People they worked with
- People they currently work with
- People who have been referred to them
- Anyone who invites them to connect
- . . . and more
If you have the Quantity Philosophy, you are likely to accept every invitation that comes your way on LinkedIn (though not necessarily). You may schedule regular time to have a phone conversation or coffee with someone every so often.
There are advantages to each philosophy (and potential disadvantages). As you use LinkedIn more and more, think about your situation and goals, and which philosophy will best serve you in meeting your goals.