Many of you have worked your asses off networking at every event in town trying to meet people and build your pipeline.   Maybe you did this online – which saves time but can also be a huge time waster the second you get lost on a Facebook newsfeed.  It’s a numbers game, right?  The more people you talk to, the more opportunities you’ll have to get a yes.  This tends to be the mindset.

Does it work?  Sometimes.  Are there more effective ways to bring in new customers?  Most definitely.

It’s called a networking strategy and it starts with your existing network.  Do you actually know who you are connected to on LinkedIn?  I mean, actually, know who they are without looking at the company they work at?  If not, time to clean house.  If you don’t know who is in your network, your network doesn’t know who you are either.  Which means they are NOT going to refer you.  Referrals come from people you know, which is why you should know who you’ve invited to your LinkedIn party.

Okay, so who should actually be at your party?

Customers and advocates for your business.   Prospects that want to follow and learn from you.  That’s about it.  This is not a wedding party.  It’s a business party where you are honoring your cream of the crop customer.  Who gets invited?  Who are some of the biggest advocates of your business?  People who are willing to publicly recommend you, like, comment and share your posts are your allies…your free salespeople.  You need to identify who these people are so you can begin to build your network around your best allies.  A strategic networking plan like this works much better than a haphazard – join every organization so I can meet people plan.

*To see who is at your LinkedIn party, log into LinkedIn and download your connections.

This will give you the big picture.  You can sort by company, or first/last name to make it easy.  You might even print the list so you have something to work from.  It’s a great way to see who’s really in your network and build your pipeline from there.  You may be surprised at who you know or who may be at a different company than you thought and is now a prospect.

You may find you don’t recognize half the list and now this is your new call list – hey, they’re connected to you on LinkedIn, it’s not really a cold call.  Clean out the ones that aren’t in the category of business advocate, customer or influencer.  Don’t worry, no one is notified when you take them out of your network!

Going forward, you’ll find that you feel more organized and you might just gain a few new customers!