Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Turn your network into a private army 0:12

Ultimately, we all want our network of connections to work for us.

In other words, I would LOVE IT if I could turn my personal network on Linkedin into my "private army." Since I have 850 connections, that would mean a private army of 850 soldiers and mercenaries working for me.

Is this just some fantasy of mine or could it become a reality some time soon?

I think it could become a reality. Recently, I exported all my contacts into an Excel spreadsheet and began to segment my connections into groups, like:
  1. People with more than 500 connections (I've about 600 connections who each have more than 500 connections)
  2. People who are CEOs (I've about a dozen)
  3. People who are VPs (I've about 30)
  4. People who are young, beautiful, single and talented ladies. I'm just kidding.
The next step is probably to contact these people and propose a deal with them. Sort of like "I'll scratch your back if you'll massage my feet" kind of thing.

Actually, let's keep it strictly business. I will do THIS for you if you'll agree to do THAT for me. Fair enough?

This, I believe, is the kind of blunt, candid, honest, down-to-Earth and direct approach most likely to yield business results.

But this requires that you know exactly what you're trying to do in your career, and therefore what you need from your connections; it also requires that you know precisely what you have to offer to others.

Of course, what you offer and what you need, will vary depending on the group you're talking to. In my case, the groups (as listed above) will be able to help me or benefit from me in different ways.

For instance, the VPs can get me into their corporations because I'm selling a valuable, exclusive and revolutionary career management framework that will help them in their war for talent.

The people with 500+ connections, on the other hand, could become affiliates and sell my products via the Web (in which case they make 30% on sales).

My point is that it is possible to turn your network into an army who will work for you IF you will work for them. But to know precisely what you can do for them, and what they can do for you, requires a systematic method of segmenting your "population of connections."

In other words, creating such homogeneous groups will make it easier for you to talk to them and offer them something that they find relevant and useful.