Knowing me, knowing you: Creating meaningful relationships

Written by Kaia Vincent
Connect with Kaia on LinkedIn –

Many people think that having large numbers of friends and acquaintances is a good thing. But there’s a notion called Dunbar’s theory which suggests that human beings have limitations on how many people that they can recognise and remember.

This blog is worth a read if you’re wondering why with so many connections you still don’t seem to be making headway with your sales goals.

According to Dunbar’s numbers theory, we only have the capacity for:

  • 5 loved ones
  • 15 good friends

  • 50 friends

  • 150 meaningful relationships

  • 500 acquaintances

  • 1500 people you recognise

And this includes people in both our business and personal lives. If Dunbar’s theory is correct, making a good impression and standing out in the right way is even more key to the success of your marketing and thus your business.

Quality not quantity on social media

If you want to utilise your social media to engage with people in a meaningful way, don’t be hell-bent on gaining thousands of followers or rate your success by the number of people that follow or connect with you.
Many people feel the number of followers shows popularity but if not managed correctly can jeopardise relationships with your customers.

Sparking conversations is just as important as posting

The beauty of social is that you can have conversations with people that otherwise you may not get the opportunity to meet. And the word ‘conversations’ is key. It’s not just about posting consistently but properly communicating (not just ‘liking’) through engaging with your audiences on your own posts and theirs. Retaining a low number of companies that you follow or connect with could mean that you can develop more meaningful relationships because you have the time to engage – talk, chat and listen.

Concentrate on 150 meaningful connections

The theory around 150 people stretches back to hunter gatherer societies when the number of relationships people had was usually confined to the small community in which they lived; typically around 150. Outside of this area other people were feared as enemies.

Outside of your 50 friends, 15 good friends and 5 loved ones – concentrate on the 150 meaningful connections. How many do you have already? How meaningful are they? Do you have some room to add a few more in that may bring more rewards to your business and personal life?

If you’re a social butterfly and your meaningful relationships list is full, then you’ll need to think about how you spark a relationship with someone where you can be an acquaintance.

For this type of relationship to be successful in business you will certainly need to invest in a marketing automation and CRM, like our SharpSpring system, so to that you can get a little bit of extra help to make this relationship more personable. We call it hyper-personalisation.

Where to find your meaningful connections?

There is of course another theory – the 6 degrees of separation – which suggest that every person is only 6 connections away from everyone in the world.
Look at your friends and loved ones list, do they have connections with anyone you’d like to be on your meaningful relationships list?

LinkedIn is a great place to start as it already identifies 1st, 2nd and 3rd connections.

In addition, networking groups or activities you attend outside of work could be key to developing relationships beneficial for work. Many a deal has been agreed on a golf course or in the club bar. No reason why the same can’t be said for a yoga or spin class?

There’s more! Our brains have limited capacity to remember too!

So now you have some ideas on how to develop meaningful relationships – remember this.
As humans we can only remember 7 pieces (+ or -2) at any given time. That’s why habits and lists are so important to us. Habits allow us to basically go into autopilot and lists ensure we’re not using up our limited capacity on regular stuff.

Develop lists and plans when you are working out your strategies – so you don’t forget.

Looking to develop meaningful relationships to win new business opportunities?

Why not do some more reading on Dunbar’s Theory. And if you are pondering why your sales and marketing is failing to bring you the rewards you desire then get in touch with Brevity to talk through some strategies that we implement with our customers to ensure you make the best first impressions with people you want to become your customers.

Looking for a CRM consultancy?  Talk to us about making meaningful connections with your audience or to find out more about Sharpspring, our CRM system email or call Basingstoke 01256 536 000 and Brighton 01273 286 771