“Use your relationships”

A salesperson I know recently told me that to build business I need to use my relationships.

The problem I’m having with that advice is that it runs counter to what I believe about my relationships.

In my view, relationships aren’t things I collect, and I don’t judge myself on the quantity of relationships I have.

My goal for relationships is quality. I’d rather have one friend who I can trust to always be honest with me and appreciate who I am. I’d rather spend time with someone who can take it when I’m honest with them, as well.

Having a bunch of “relationships,” like people with over 500 Facebook friends or LinkedIn connections isn’t interesting to me. It’s not real.

I’ve written about this before, but I’ve lost track of the number of times I’ve tried to connect with someone via a friend’s LinkedIn connection only to hear from my friend that they have no idea who that person is. Then why are you LinkedIn with them?

I regularly prune my LinkedIneage. I often write to people in my connection base, and if they don’t write back to me after a month and a follow up note, I remove them. My philosophy is, if I can’t count on them to respond to me, than I can’t count on them as a reliable member of my network.

To “use my relationships” goes against everything I know. My relationships are critical to me, and I want them to be real. If someone thinks I’m only maintaining a relationship with them because I want something, then that’s no relationship at all.

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