You may not think you care who your friend’s friend’s friends are today and you never may. However, if your friend, family member or you are a:
- Business development manager
- Channel development manager
- Alliance or partner manager
- Marketing person
- HR person
- Recruiter or
- Job seeker
you my want to reconsider your position.
You will be more successful in connecting with people who can assist your career or company if you strengthen your network and know who your friend’s friend’s friends are!
Here are 2 diagrams to illustrate the concept of why it is important to connect with as many “true” friends and business associates on LinkedIn as possible.
Suppose you want to get in touch with and build a relationship with a Key Executive at the “Target Company” shown in red. Since you have not aggressively built your LinkedIn network, you have very few friends (A & B) in LinkedIn (you, at the top will only see the people highlighted in light blue and red in your LinkedIn network)
When you look at the Key Executive’s profile on LinkedIn, you see that your “Friend A” is indirectly connected to the Key Executive through an unknown “Friend’s Friend.”
Unfortunately, your friend isn’t connected to Jane Smith, your friend and therefore doesn’t appear in the Key Executive’s network on LinkedIn. It turns out that Jane knows both the Key Executive you wish to talk with at the “Target Company,” and there is an added gold bonus, Jane has a second Key Contact at the “Target Company.”
Now you have 3 choices:
- Ask Friend A to ask his “Friend’s Friend” for an introduction… and wait
- Purchase and send an “InMail” (Purchased from LinkedIn in some manner) and wait.
- Take “action” and place a cold call to the Key Executive at the “Target Company” and ?
There is a better way! Start building your LinkedIn network today. Obviously, building an effective network takes time and effort. It can be boring and seem like a waste of time. Until you need it!
I recommend a systematic approach with daily goals. Set a goal of inviting 5 people a day that you are friends with, to join your LinkedIn network. This should take less than 10 minutes. This is an investment in yourself, your career and your company.
If at the end of the week, you haven’t invited 25 people, you have some work to do before you shut down for the weekend.
There are 2 approaches to automatically building your LinkedIn network. First, download your entire electronic address book. Then invite only the people you know well, with personal invitations. Beware, LinkedIn currently limits you to 3000 invitations. Use them wisely.
The second approach is neither as effective, nor automatic as the first. And, should only be used only after the first option is exhausted. LinkedIn provides a guess at whom you might want to connect with, and it sometimes works.
Imagine now, you have built your network using the methods outlined. Now that Jane Smith is in your immediate LinkedIn network (everyone in the LinkedIn network shown below is visible to you, at no cost), you will immediately know she knows the Key Executive you wish to contact at the “Target Company”
When you call (not email) your friend, Jane Smith and ask for an introduction, Jane will tell you about the other key executives she knows at the “Target Company”. You will have both the desired introduction and know other key people you can contact in the “Target Company”, when desired, to be successful in your quest.