Over the last couple of weeks we have been enjoying the cherries from one of our fruit trees. I picked these a couple of weeks ago and it struck me when I did that where the best fruit was. As you would expect there was none on the tree trunk and the best fruit was not that growing on or nearest to the boughs (main branches) either.
The best fruit was that growing on branches growing off the boughs or one more branch removed. This is a good metaphor for showing where the real results are won in business networking. The boughs represent the direct relationships you build with people in your network, but that is not where you get the rewards. It is your investment in growing these relationships (your advocates) that lead to results from their first and second level connections.
It can be easy to forget that although the best fruit comes from the smaller branchlets they are nourished through the main branches. So make sure you are doing the right things with your close network in order to receive the benefits of their advocacy.