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Who thinks of networking in macro or micro terms? Probably no one and that is why I want you to think about it that way. We are always asking clients about their networks.

Who are you connected to?

How well do you know them?

Are they good referral sources for you?

If you don’t know your 1st-degree connections, what value can you possibly provide to them or they to you?

I see the trend swinging back to only connecting with people you know especially for those in senior positions in a company.

In a workshop with key executives from a variety of companies, we spent about 45-minutes in LinkedIn’s Settings & Privacy area reviewing the most important settings so that the executives could reduce the number of random invitations and sales messages.

They recognized the need to be on LinkedIn, look good and share content. However, they felt bombarded by the continual barrage of invites, InMails, and messages with unsolicited sales pitches. By tweaking their settings, they can quiet some of the noise at least.

These executives also seemed vigilant about only connecting with people they know.

So, I consider them more micro-networkers than macro-networkers.

Determining what you need to accomplish on LinkedIn is step one in determining what type of networker you will be on LinkedIn. Remember, have a plan. Go big or stay small, they both have value depending on what your intent and business objective is.

Recruiters and salespeople usually have the most extensive networks. However, a salesperson who sells complex or niche B2B solutions, products, or services may not need as extensive a network as someone selling more commoditized products and services.

Business development and sales development professionals have a different focus than traditional salespeople whose role is to close the sale.  BDPs and SDRs are top of the funnel creating interest and trying to initiate a conversation. Good BDPs are continually connecting and opening doors, so their strategy is a macro-networking strategy. Great BDPs take their macro-networking to the next level, micro-networking. They go deep with a portion of their network, their Centers of Influence and connect people they know with one another.

Going wide then deep is how BDPs and SDRs stand out. They’re always connecting the dots and thinking about how they can add value to others inside their companies and beyond.

In an upcoming post, I’ll be talking with Jim Ries, Director of Development at Offit Kurman, a full-service law firm in the Mid-Atlantic region. Jim is the consummate business development professional combining broad stroke networking with interest and follow-up with those he meets, adding more to the exchange than just a polite nod. He asks how he can help and introduces people to one another because he’s genuinely interested in people, their businesses and helping them out when he can. Jim creates stickiness and is a Center of Influence within his network. He is one of the first people I think of when talking about networking.

Consider your networking strategy and think about who, how and why you are connecting. How can you add something worthwhile (value) to others before you ask for something?

You may have your industry’s leading product/service and want your ideal customer to know how it will serve them, however, you jeopardize future opportunities by rushing in too soon.

Stop yourself and think before connecting.