The Maximum Social Network Calculator

Simple 2 Step Process for getting consulting clients it's not quantum mechanics

A lot of consultants invest a lot of time, money, and energy in “networking”, understandably hoping to create a strong referral circle. But often this leads to frustration, rather than results. Here’s how we can do a better job networking, keeping in mind the Maximum Social Network we can actually have.


If you’re in a consulting business, you’re in a relationship business.

If you’re in a relationship business, you’re in a conversation business, because conversations are the building blocks of relationships.

If you’re in a conversation business, you have a 2-step “sales” process.

  1. Figure out exactly who you want to talk to.
  2. Talk to them.

If you do a good job with part 1, you’ll get directed to the right people by your referral network.

If your positioning is weak, you’ll get fewer, lower-quality introductions.

But the key is to keep talking to people.

Networking Only “Works” If You Follow Up

You probably know more people than you can keep up with already. Invested more time in “networking” with people you can’t nurture relationships with doesn’t help. It makes it seem like you’re doing business development, but you’d be better off having conversations with people you already know, if those folks are the right folks to be talking with.

How many people can you actually have this kind of relationship with?

Plug in your estimates into the calculator below and see the size of your Maximum Social Network.

Maximum Social Network Calculator

“Social” hours per day:
Minimum conversation frequency (days):
Minimum conversation duration (hours):
Apply 80/20 rule? (Most of conversations will be with a subset of your network.)
Theortical Maximum Social Network:
Conversations per Week:
Unique Contacts in Network: (What percentage of your contacts’ contacts are unique, or not shared across multiple contacts?)
Total Effective Network: (Assuming your contacts have similar social habits, which is a terrible assumption but makes the math simpler.)

For most people, it’s in the low three figures. Rather than try to expand this in a way that won’t work, keep in mind that the real power of the network is not the people you know directly, but they people they know. And they will be happy to connect you with those people if they know, like and trust you, and you make it easy.

(See this free training video for more details on the process of being referrable and getting referrals.)

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