You may try to stay in touch with hundreds of clients, customers, and prospects—but can you really say that you have strong relationships with them? Social science shows us that the maximum number of relationships we can maintain at one time is around 150. Further studies of the gaming world and other online communities confirm that groups break apart when they exceed that size. That’s why I believe a truly powerful, connected network consists of around 150 people, organized in three concentric circles:
This doesn’t mean that you ignore any connections that are outside of your core 150. But you do make sure to keep in touch specifically with these 150 people on a regular basis: your top 5 daily, your top 50 weekly, and your top 100 monthly. While the 150 people in your network will evolve and change through time, keeping this number as your target will help you avoid overwhelm while you develop great relationships with the people you select.
Imagine distilling the lists of people in your contact software down to a core 150. How much more sane would your life and business feel?
While it may seem counterintuitive to increase the power of your network by limiting the number of people in it, by focusing on and deepening a smaller number of important relationships, power connectors can create greater value for the people in their networks. And remember: each of those 155 people has his or her own network, too. The stronger your relationships, the more likely your 155 people will happily give you access to the people they know.