Beware of the “Connected”

Another of our clients has been stung by someone they hired because of a promise to “open doors” and introduce them to connections in high places.

Here’s the thing. If someone approaches you claiming to be highly connected and promises to introduce your business to those connections, they aren’t and they won’t. They aren’t highly connected (no matter how many LinkedIn connections they have) because anyone that is well-networked would never make that claim. Who wants to be connected to someone who insists on repeatedly introducing them to any old tat just because there’s a fee in it? And that’s why they won’t successfully introduce you to anyone. They might try, but it’s very unlikely that you will build any meaningful relationships.

Let’s just call these people what they are: sales agents. There’s nothing wrong in that. For the right business model, a good sales person is worth her weight in gold. But giving a slice of equity away because somebody claims to be well-networked is a nonsense. Put them on a commission, train them up and let them get on with it.

Anybody that is well-networked would NEVER claim to be. Because that defeats the point of being well-networked. Any successful networker knows that the value in her network is the value derived by both parties that are the subject of an introduction.

Think deeper, people. Not wider…

My LinkedIn Rule

Here’s my rule for connecting on LinkedIn.  It works really well for me, so perhaps it might work for you.  

I only connect with people that I have met physically or with whom I have some kind of substantial if physically remote connection.  That means everyone in my LinkedIn network is somebody I actually know, not just another name on a list.  And if I know them, that means they probably remember who I am… hopefully.  

My rule also means that when I receive connection requests from folks I haven’t met, there’s a good excuse to suggest a face to face, which means I get to do two things I love. (1) Meet somebody new with whom to talk business.  (2) Drink cappuccino in a cafe and call it work.

As far as I’m concerned, the purpose of a network is to connect people I know with other people I know to the benefit of both.  Sometimes, one of those people might be me, but the power of a network lies in the ability of the person at its core to act as a useful intermediary.  Where possible, I’d prefer to do this face to face, but where that’s not possible, in my experience there’s no better tool to use than LinkedIn.

The strap line for our legal practice, Particular C&L is “finding ways to get stuff done”.  Competing for sheer numbers of “friends” is for teenagers.