Bulls-eye Networking: The Action - stay in touch

To move people forward from Grin to Generator, consider these criteria:


How many times do you have to see someone before they remember you? Twice? Twenty? 

Clearly we can't shake hands once, trade business cards, and become Generators for each other. (I know you don't want to believe that; and you know it's true.) So what does it take, in real life? What is a reasonable expectation?

Good news! There's an answer!
It takes five times, plus or minus three, to move from Graze to Grin. And another five -- plus or minus three -- to move from Grin to Greet.  And another round of five -- plus or minus three -- to achieve Generator.

Amazing, isn't it, how closely this mirrors the statistic that it takes five to eleven touches to close a sale?


Touches are three-dimensional. The amount of time between interactions counts, too. Last Sunday, at the twin's first birthday party I was introduced to Diana. Small talk, chit chat, and fifteen minutes later it occurred to me who she was {she'd been to my house for dinner!} and where she lived {less than a mile from the friend who rode with us}. It's been three years since we saw each other - I think we're back at the Graze level.

To move an acquaintance forward to Generator stay in touch about every four to six weeks. More frequently than four weeks and it will feel like you're stalking them. Less frequently than six weeks and it will take more repetitions to move forward.


The quickest way to move from Graze to Grin -- and perhaps even jump to Greet -- is by finding out what you have in common. 

Gloria asked for advice and I suggested she speak with Ross. When I saw her a few weeks later she was effusive. "He's been such a help," she gushed, "and we found out our grandfathers are from the same town in Ohio!" When I saw Ross that's the first thing he wanted to share, too.

Would they have gotten as far without a common denominator? I don't think so. Lots of introductions don't go anywhere. Starting, before business, with conversation that places you in the same context, is an important move-to-the-money technique.


You meet a new acquaintance for lunch. When they arrive they're feeling a little peckish. Ninety minutes later they leave ready to take on the world. They think the change is because of the conversation with you. It was the grilled chicken salad.

David asked me if food was important at his weekly referral meeting. I reached out to Eric Barker for the answer and learned: you want people eating something sugary while you're talking. A rise in blood sugar level increases both attention and memory retention. So this week when I saw Jeremiah begin his presentation by handing two packs of Starburst candies around the table I though, hummm, smart guy. 

It gets more specific. Robert Cialdini's research suggests

  • the quickest way to the Generator level is with food, and
  • it may not be possible to move to the Generator level without food.

Hence the book Coffee Lunch Coffee.

Networking isn't the goal. Business is the goal. 
Business begins at Generator.
Move it.

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