Even prior to “social networking” on the Internet, most salespeople considered networking to be a top priority in the sense that the more people we know the more likely it is that someone can help us in our sales endeavors. But one distinction we have always tried to make is that “networking means nothing” if the result is a passive list of acquaintances as opposed to an active and energized list of true business colleagues and associates.
Put another way, in terms of business activity, we are better off with a smaller group of people we actively engage with, than a large list of people whom we hardly ever talk to. We used to bring this up from time to time when someone would brag to us how large their rolodex or mailing list was. Usually, when we probed a little deeper, they may have sent out a newsletter or something to such a list, but the personal engagement was wanting.
Now that LinkedIn and other communities are redefining our approach to networking, we think it is more important than ever to remember that while having a full contingent of LinkedIn connections is great, it will never compensate for the active engagement of a smaller group of key contacts, influencers and friends; who can really go to bat for you in high leverage situations and vice versa.
Keep those relationships active, rich and vital . . . they are precious parts of your business and selling life.