Building Your Extended Support Team (aka Your Personal Network)
September 11, 2012
So many factors contribute to successfully marketing professional services that it’s virtually impossible for any one of us to achieve our goals alone. A good personal network,or support team, will help us source the information and people we need to succeed in marketing our professional services.
In selecting team members, consider as broad a range of people as possible. Remember that to help you, your contacts need not be marketing experts, nor must they be knowledgeable about the professional service that you provide.
The only criterion that they must meet is knowing people whom you do not know.
There is a clear role for potential and active clients on your team. As noted below, these people can serve as windows on your market and also generate referrals.
The actual number of potential and active clients in your personal network depends upon your individual situation and circumstances. Unless individuals can make a significant contribution to your overall marketing effort, it’s better to include them in your keeping in touch strategy (Chapter 16) than as members of your personal network.
Everyone has an existing network of personal contacts. As well as family and friends, these people include:
- business associates
- current and past clients and suppliers
- members of the same clubs and organizations as you
- members of your religious or ethnic community
- co-workers from previous jobs
- your health care professionals or legal or financial advisor
- people you met at conferences, conventions and on holidays
- teachers, professors and instructors from school and other training activities
- former classmates
According to British anthropologist Robin Dunbar, 150 individuals is the maximum number with whom we can maintain authentic relationships. This would be a good upper limit to the size of your support team. Included in this number would be your marketing dream team (Chapter 9) and colleagues or referral partners (Chapter 15).
Excluded from this list would be the list of people with whom you are keeping in touch, such as past and potential clients, and also your social media connections, friends and followers.
Speaking of social media, high volume applications such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter can help you find and reconnect with long lost personal contacts.
To learn more about building your extended support team, click here.