How to generate connections that are the centres of influence that your sector recognises as key players

Tomasz Sokół
by Tomasz Sokół on August 9, 2017
How to generate connections that do business with your customers but do not compete with you
July 28, 2017
How to generate connections that are 6° separation from opportunity…we say ‘who you know & the 5next’
September 13, 2017

Within the 5next team we believe that we are one of the few organisations that are continually talking & listening to Business Development professionals in the USA, UK & Poland.

Our conversation is always about ‘just how do people build their professional & commercial networks’?

Our finding is that for Professional Services & complicated commercial offers every single conversation we have is about the quality of connections when you analyse where revenue & fees come from.

You are reading the 4th article that is a product of those conversations.
The innovative application 5next performs by using material from the only accredited education in Europe on this subject:
‘The Executive Programme in Professional & Business Networking’

This received accreditation from the ILM.

This is article 4 in a series of 5

This is what you will learn reading this article:

  • An appreciation of how you should evaluate the construction of your network
  • A clear description & explanation as to what type of personnel should be in your network
  • An idea of where these people might be sourced
  • An explanation as to how you might approach this type of source

(It will take about 30 minutes to take in)

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Learn how to build a network of connections to meet
the strategic & immediate needs of your enterprise.

In terms of this article, the Business Development group we are listening to are all working in the Professional Services & Business to Corporate Sales environment. This group has the Professional requirement to be able to network competently due to their sales processes, sales cycle, client acquisition methods & exceptionally competitive market space they work in.

5next is the ground breaking application that uses part of the social concept ‘you are the average of the five people you associate with the most’. This we believe was 1st published as a business concept by the USA entrepreneur Jim Roan although other variations of it exist prior to this usage.

The 5next theory focuses on the ‘5 moving parts’ that need to be in place to support business development success & how you master these 5 parts defines what is available to you.

We have broken these down into the following 5 areas of network statuses:

  • Contacts with knowledge. (Article One)
  • Contacts that understand what the future looks like in your marketplace. (Article Two)
  • Contacts that do business with your customers but do not compete with you. (Article Three)
  • Contacts that are the centres of influence that your sector recognises as key players
  • Contacts 6° of separation from a client opportunity…we say who you know & the 5next

5next believe that the above 5 concepts, as an average, represent your Business Development potential.

In terms of evaluating the types of connections that are within your network 5next will walk you through what we recognise as the connections which are best described as the ‘Centres of Influence’ within the Business Development space that you professionally occupy.

Let’s define what a Centre of Influence looks like.
I would describe them as those people that can support your market access & credibility through referrals, testimonials, word-of-mouth & by their association.

Associate yourself with people of good quality, for it is better to be alone than in bad company
Booker T Washington

These people are generally well established, good networkers & can introduce you to the kind of markets or connections you need & are looking for.
In the ideal world you should be in the network of several Centres of Influence.

Why are they so important?

The world famous Roper Centre has conducted an immense number of studies on influential people for decades. They discovered that, what we would describe as the influential segment of the population is:

“Remarkable for its consistency & typically deeply involved in their communities, both socially & politically”

Their research suggests that winning the confidence of one Centre of Influence can create 6 loyal customers. Of those 6 new ‘customers’, at 5next we would suggest that there are another 2 Centres of Influence within those too.
We would describe this as exponential opportunity.

By considering this thinking you are engaging in another key concept where the top Business Development professional are exceptionally active. This will have a tremendous impact on your network & the type of connections available to you.

Position yourself as a centre of influence, the one who knows the movers & shakers. People will respond to that & you’ll soon become what you project
Bob Burg

To make this work you need to consider the following:

  • Adding Centres of Influence to your network is a business development strategy first
  • Adding Centres of Influence to your network is a client acquisition strategy second
  • A Centre of Influence needs to be the right fit for you
  • A Centre of Influences need to be the right fit for your client acquisition stratagem
    (Not every potential Centre of Influence will fit this description)
  • It takes time
  • Recognise you have to prove yourself
  • You will need to actively build credibility & trust
  • The Centre of Influence is the client in the relationship
  • These relationships requires on-going nurturing, as much as any client relationship
  • Identify & target your Centres of Influence.
    • Who can help you grow your network into the right areas of business development?
    • Who has the potential to introduce you to potential connections?
  • Develop a database of ideal contacts & a profile for these
    • If you develop a profile or template then you have a target to connect too

Download FREE ebook - Strategic Networking

Learn how to build a network of connections to meet
the strategic & immediate needs of your enterprise.

It’s vital to define your own value in the context of connecting with a Centre of Influence.

(Bear in mind that so many of us in Professional services are seen as a commodity note that the Centre of Influence may consider us as this so without this additional value potentially there is no qualitative differentiation).

In terms of attracting & connecting with ‘Centres of Influence’ the following may be a very good question for you.

“What genuine, unique value can you offer a Centre of Influence”?

  • What do ‘you’ bring to the table?
  • What does your offer bring to the table?
  • What skills do you bring to the table?
  • What information do you bring to the table?
  • What resources do you bring to the table?

Try it this way & imagine you are a start-up doing a 60 second pitch…what would you say?
In an earlier article we referred to the currency of social commercial comfort.

Well on that basis what do you bring in terms of social commercial comfort to a potential Centre of Influence?

In terms of points of contact & where Centres of Influence are:

  • Do they belong to any specific professional organisations?
  • Do they belong to any specific business associations?
  • Do they belong to any specific networking groups?

Do you have a presence there?

So within your existing network do your research from your ‘Intel’ & gather the relevant information.

When you identify a Centre of Influence you’ll need to approach them.
In real terms this means you need an arsenal of ‘material’ that you can offer to create your value.

We believe that Centres of Influence like to engage other people so be sure to offer to connect them up with others in your network where appropriate.
Invite them to events where they too can make valuable new contacts.

At 5next what we believe that ‘connecting the dots’ & linking people is important.
This will put you in a great position in terms of social commercial comfort.
Stay in touch at a frequency that is appropriate & retain your relevance by ‘staying under the nose’ of your Centre of Influence.

In our next & final article of these 5 we will be looking at the importance of making sure that you network has connections in it that are less than 6° of separation away from a potential revenue or fees opportunity. (We describe this area as ‘who you know & the 5next’)

Download FREE ebook - Strategic Networking

Learn how to build a network of connections to meet
the strategic & immediate needs of your enterprise.

Summary
How to generate connections that are the centres of influence that your sector recognises as key players
Article Name
How to generate connections that are the centres of influence that your sector recognises as key players
Description
Within the 5next team we believe that we are one of the few organisations that are continually talking & listening to Business Development professionals in the USA, UK & Poland. Our conversation is always about ‘just how do people build their professional & commercial networks’? Our finding is that for Professional Services & complicated commercial offers every single conversation we have is about the quality of connections when you analyse where revenue & fees come from.
Author
Publisher Name
5next
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Author
Tomasz Sokół
Tomasz Sokół
Since 2002, the beginning of his activity in Internet, he has been promoting the knowledge and coding of websites according to standards, guidelines and accessibility - developed by the W3C consortium (in 2004 - 2007 he was active in the development team of Osiolki.net - where he helped improve over 800 websites owned by individuals, company and public websites. At the same time (2004 - 2010), he began working as a coordinator for Mozilla Developer Center PL, responsible for creating and translating documentation of thousands of developer articles. Work on MDC PL was carried out within the Polish Aviary.pl team, which is the official location team working for Mozilla. Since 2007, the owner of the interactive web agency Create Web, helping small and medium-sized businesses to appear on the Web. Co-owner of codewear.co - a full service agency that implements projects for UK and US clients. In 5next.io as managing director in Poland, last year he was responsible for the work of the team that is currently implementing strategic networking applications - 5next. After work father of two wonderful daughters and happy husband wife Joanna.
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