Episode: 357 |
Will Bachman:
Core Network:


Will Bachman

Core Network

Show Notes


In this episode of Unleashed, I share a few valuable ideas taken from David A. Fields and his book, The Irresistible Consultants’ Guide to Winning Clients, which I highly recommend, to help you identify and build your core network.

Key points include:

  • Creating a master list
  • Segmenting groups
  • Identifying the weak ties


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Will Bachman 00:01
So I’ve covered this topic before in other episodes, as early as episode number one with David A. Fields, but I wanted to give it its own episode. So I could refer people just to this piece of how to identify your core network. And this is an idea that I’ve totally taken from David A. Fields. And his book, The irresistible consultants guide to winning clients, which I highly recommend this idea is from that book. And so here’s how to go about it. In order to know and have a list of who to be reaching out to, to do business development, you want to identify your core network, not just people that you know, but people that know you, in my experience, like 80, to 90% of your clients, at least in your first year or two as an independent, are probably going to come from people that already know you, or possibly people that know the people that know you. So here’s how to create you to identify your core network, you want to first create one master list of everybody that you know. And so common way to do that would be go to LinkedIn, and export your LinkedIn contacts include a link in the show notes of how to do that, it’s a little tricky, you have to go into your account and then like privacy settings and go through a few steps, but you can export your LinkedIn contacts. And when you do that, you’ll get an XML file that just has the name, their current company, their current title, unfortunately, doesn’t have their LinkedIn URL, which would be a nice add, and it doesn’t have their email address anymore. At least for most of the people, people now have to positively opt in to include their email their most people have not so but at least you’ll have their name. And then you can also go to your email program and export all of your contacts from your email program. I’ll include links in the show notes on how to do that from Gmail, or from Outlook, which are the emails and systems that most people use one of those two, and then kind of combine those lists, create a master list. If you haven’t been super diligent about connecting with everybody that you interact with on LinkedIn, then you probably want to go through an exercise of thinking through every project that you’ve done, and who you interacted with on that project. And go back as far as you can. Plus, think through all of my classmates from graduate school from college. people that I know, in my community organization, basically every one that you can think of that, you know, put on this list, create one master list. Okay, so now we have this master list, let’s say an Excel or some other spreadsheet program. Now you want to add a couple columns. So first column is the, you know, how much of a, what’s the that put that person into three groups. The first group would be decision makers, we’ll call those A’s A’s are decision makers, those are people that can actually decide to engage you on a project. Now, there’s a lot of different levels of decision makers. And we’re talking about decision makers for the type of work that you’re doing. If we were, you know, partners at McKinsey, we’d have to be a bit a little bit higher level, possibly only people that can sign off on a million dollar project. You know, if you are shoveling snow, then it basically could be any homeowner on your block. But so it’s the person who can sign off on your type of project for your type of typical dollar amount decision makers. Bees are influencers, and maybe it’s an associate or an a director or a project lead who knows that. It that influencer. I mean that decision maker, that decision maker possibly sort of a VP of strategy or a VP of Marketing, possibly CEO or president, but doesn’t have to be the C level. If the VP level has the kind of budget that is for your type of project. That’s fine. influencers could also be accountants, attorneys who might refer you to a to a client or it could be other consultants, actually, who you know who may be very focused on a narrow niche and don’t really want to stray outside that they may be able to introduce you to clients, they know where where it’s not really a fit for them. So create influencers have a second group, third group would be kind of everyone else. Next, we want to add in the next column 123. We want to grade people on the strength of the relationship. So the ones are strong relationships, those are the people that you’re closest with might only be 20 3040 people, the people that know you very well that will work Turn your call the same day that you know that you could text with easily people that just know you well, that our friends, family, people that you’re close to number twos are weak ties, and the concept of weak ties is popularized by Malcolm Gladwell. I’m sure you’re familiar with it, the idea of, and we all have heard about how most people get their jobs through weak ties, not strong ties. And that’s not because they’re more likely to on an individual basis, but we just have a lot more weak ties. So twos are weak ties. But I think a weak ties is people that, know you that like you, that respect you, and that will remember you. So if you call them up, they won’t just say, Who is this? Who is this and not recognize your name, though, they’ll say, Oh, yeah, we worked on that project together, you know, six years ago, but they know you well enough that they respect you. Whereas the threes are people that maybe you’ve interacted with once or a long time ago, met them at a conference or something. But if you call them up, they won’t remember you. So maybe you have a lot of those people on LinkedIn, perhaps, where they kind of use random connections. So those are threes, okay, so we got ABC, influence a decision makers, influencers and everyone else. And then we have 123, strong ties, weak ties, and everyone else. So now, what you do is we have so and then you can see we have nine boxes a one all the way to C three, we’re going to just eliminate all of the C’s, everyone who’s not an influencer or a decision maker, and eliminate all the threes, all those people that are you know, are not even weak ties. Now, looking at that list, now we have a ones a twos, B ones, and B twos. depending on the length of that list, you may or may not want to exclude the B twos, the influencers that are weak ties, for me, I would probably include those in the list. But if you have, you know, a really big number of, of decision makers who are decision makers or influencers who are strong ties, then maybe you leave those off. So this will give you the list of your core network. Now you’ve identified your core network for and then you can set your periodicity that you want to be interacting with each of those people in your core network. That’s this is the group that you probably want to upload into your CRM system, you that you want to plan out and schedule some regular interactions. So your a ones, you probably want to be touching those people at least once a quarter with a phone call or at least an email. The a tos, same thing, you know, decision makers, the other ones, you know, some people you may not be able to talk to every single one of your core network every quarter. So some people perhaps you might set a target of twice a year or once a year. So that’s how to identify your core network. Thanks for listening to this episode of unleashed if you go to unbrick.com slash unleashed, you can sign up for our weekly email, in which I’ll send out send you an email that lists out the recent episodes, so you can figure out which ones you might want to listen to also occasionally include some bonus material. And if you want to give this show a five star review on iTunes, that would be greatly appreciated, helps other people discover the show and you can email me, Will Bachman at unleashed@umbrex.com Thanks for listening

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