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January 26, 2010

3 reasons why LIONs are counterproductive to your networking

If you have LION's, TopLinked or any other variant of "Linker" in your network list I advise you to drop the connection to them immediately.

More than any other networking site, LinkedIn is not about how many - but who. If you wish to be collected as a notch on the profile of a Linker then that is up to you, but there are actually very good reasons why this is not a good idea.

1) Updates stream. My updates streams are filled with relevant, interesting information about people I know within industries I target. In fact, it is a scarce business intelligence resource. 

I knew that two of my companies key clients were moving roles prior to Christmas before anybody else did. I can also see who is connected to whom, who is changing roles and who has been promoted. (Among other things) 

And importantly....these are not random names on my screen. They are people in significant roles in industries I wish to deliver services to.

When I was connected to LION's, TopLinked and others it was just mush. Unrecognizable mush about people I didn't know doing things I didn't care about. 

2) Your network is your most valuable asset. B2B networks are not about notches on profiles, they are about long term mutually beneficial commercial relationships. Your network needs to be valued and treated as the phenomenal opportunity producing asset that it is. 

Why would you expose it to people you do not know? Worse. If you are a consultant, why would you link to somebody who may have links to competitors of yours? Really, why? 

If you connect randomly then you run the risk of giving a competitor some form of access to decision makers within target companies. This seems restrictive but it isn't.

Do you even know the name of the VP for manufacturing from GM and their consulting budget? I do. And I got it from my LinkedIn account, and if you are going to be competing with me for that budget why would I allow you to have that information?

3) It's not about you anymore.

As stated above, networking is about mutual benefit. Connecting with "Linkers" is about helping them to grow their connections list even further. it is not about you, at all, it is all about them and their list. 

Their is a belief that "Linkers" have extra ordinary reach, and they do. But it is broad and general not narrow and specific. They are able to ouch a range of people across a range of industries, but often not able to dive deep into one sector to define the key decision makers moving millions, if not billions of dollars.

My advice? Don't deal with them, don't allow them into your networking groups, don't let them lull others with "Accept all invites" statements, and do not ever curse others with an introduction to them.

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