“The VP plays golf with my brother-n-law!” exclaimed the salesperson as he left the meeting.
Why do salespeople get excited about these outlying connections? Clara Shih, a thought leader in Social Networking, calls it Transitive Trust. Salespeople get very excited when they discover that they have a relationship in common with a prospect or customer. When you are referred or have a trusted connection to someone you don’t know you temporarily step out of the sales stereotype. Transitive Trust gives you a temporary unfair advantage over your competition and tools like Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Google and others help track and manage these connections. Other tools like www.mypeoplemaps.com, help you aggregate them. Your personal connections and friendships will do more to get you into an opportunity and out of the sales stereotype than anything else. According to Nigel Edelshain, CEO of Sales 2.0, being introduced into an account by one of your connections makes it 8X more likely that you will get in the door. Build and use your social capital.