How Many Customers Do You REALLY Need?

June 30, 2011

In the last few weeks I have been sharing tips to get more referrals (“Want More Referrals? Do Your Homework!” and “Your Target Group is Crucial for Being Referable“).

One of the biggest problems is that most people have a hard time to use the parameters I have shared and refuse to define specific target groups.

The reason?

They are afraid to miss an opportunity!

This (limiting) belief is one of the biggest reasons people don’t have the success they can have and waste lots of time.

How to solve this?

One of the exercises we do in our training courses is looking at how many customers the participants actually need. Most of the time this number is smaller than they actually thought they needed.

On top of that we also look at how many customers they can (and want to) service.

By looking at those two numbers the participants get a new perspective on what they REALLY want and need. Since that number is almost every time smaller than they thought it was, it is easier to choose one to three specific target groups.

So my question to you is: how many customers do you need?

To your success !



Do You Have a Big Network or More Bridging Ties?

June 23, 2011

I just read an interesting article called “The Most Valuable People in Your Network” on the Harvard Business Review blog by Rob Cross.

Rob is also the author of “The Hidden Power of Social Networks – Understanding How Work Really Gets Done in Organizations“, which is a very good book about how Social Network Analysis or Organizational Network Analysis can be translated from the academic world to the business world.

In the article he describes a study done at a major consultancy company about sharing their knowledge using a social-bookmarking system.

One of the conclusions was:

“(The research team) sought to discover whether these systems could help employees be more innovative at work by helping them connect ideas from different contexts. What they found was that innovativeness had nothing to do with the number of bookmarks accessed or even the number of people an individual connected to through the bookmarking system. Employees that were rated as more innovative didn’t have bigger networks; rather, they had more bridging ties — ties that connected them to other employees who were themselves not connected.

Look at the article for a visual representation of what this actually means.

My question to you is: how about your network (internally or externally)? Are you someone who is the bridge between different networks?

To your success !


Your Target Group is Crucial for Being Referable

June 16, 2011

Like I wrote in the blogpost Want More Referrals? Do Your Homework!, it is crucial to have a good definition of your target group in order to be more referable.

Doing business is not that difficult, if you do the basics right.

One of these basics is defining your target group, whether it is about finding new customers, employees, partners, investors, experts or a new job.

Here are some parameters to use to define your target group:

  • Geography: where do the people you want to reach live? Which country, region or city?
  • Industry: in which industry (or industries) are the people you want to get in touch with, active?
  • Function/Profession: which role do these people have?

The more clear this is for you, the easier it will be to find the right networking events, to use LinkedIn better and to “teach” your own contacts who you want to get in touch with.

To your success !


Want To Professionally Network on a Plane? Use Planely with LinkedIn.

June 9, 2011

One of my favourite networking stories that I tell in my training courses is how I met Charlie Jones on the plane.

Nowadays it becomes more and more easy to find interesting people who are on the same flight as you.

One of the companies that facilitates this is Planely.

How does it work? There are 3 steps:

1) You let Planely know when and where you are flying.
2) Planely lets you know who you are traveling with.
3) You can reach out to make contact.

Planely now also integrates with LinkedIn. Planely CEO and founder Nick Martin explains, “The really interesting part is that if both you and your Match integrate, then as part of that summary we show you if your Match is 1, 2 or 3 degrees of separation away from you or in any of the same Groups.”

I haven’t tried it myself yet, but it looks interesting!


PS: get your free light version and free updates (50 pages in the meanwhile!) of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)

Want More Referrals? Do Your Homework!

June 2, 2011

In our referral training courses one of the most important topics is the preparation phase.

However, the problem for most people is that it is so simple that they don’t want to do the effort or don’t think of doing their homework.

What is it about?

You need to have a clear picture of who you want as a customer in your mind. Only when you have your target group clear to you and you are able to communicate that in a way that is easy to understand, your network will be able to become your ambassador.

One of my favorite quotes is: help your contact to help you!

So your “homework” for now is to think of who you want to get in touch with, whether it is a new customer, employer, employee, partner, supplier, investor, expert or anyone else.

In the next post I will give you some concrete tips.

To your success !


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