If you met more people do you think you would improve your bottom line? Be that on your payslip or your income statement? I hear you say “that depends on whether these are qualified leads or my ideal prospects/contacts.” Well, if you knew who your right prospect or ideal career contact was and there was a place where you could find all of them congregated and willingly sharing their wisdom would you invest some time to go there? Answer is hopefully yes! Well this platform…yes LinkedIn can be that place for you if you wanted it to be.
I started paying attention to LinkedIn about 18 months ago, slowly I noticed a trend – I started meeting up with some cool people and networking for professional and business purposes, when I would check how we met I began to trace it back to LinkedIn. I became a student of the platform and recently hired a coach, Andrew Ford, who’s helped accelerate my learning on personal branding.
I did the maths just recently, I actually have a vision board on my wall at home, of face to face contacts that I have made recently – 78 in under 200 days, all done after hours/weekends, for some that’s not a lot but for some like me that’s a great outcome – anyone can do it.
I will share with you four key steps that have worked for me – hope these will work for you as well (by the way this is one my longer posts – if you already have a massive and very active network then you don’t need to read further – but if you want LinkedIn to work better for you then read on):
1. Get Ready to Be Judged!
Like it or not, you do it and others do it to you and to me So John receives a connection invite/friend request in FB terms, first question is who is this person, oh it’s Chris from my old work…”Accept” easy…Or uuumm not sure which Chris this is let me check out their profile, you are about to be judged!
If John is a key contact that you would love to connect with for mentoring towards your next big role or to pick his brain on how he made the corporate exit and started his own successful business then you need to make sure your profile doesn’t discourage John from accepting your connection request.
i) Get a professional headshot photograph (no motorbikes/cars, spouses, cats…just YOU)
ii) Your title/tagline is about YOU not just your employment title unless you have a very cool corporate title – showcase your brand this is your tagline
iii) Make sure you work towards more than 500 connections (makes you a more valuable connection to others with the 500+ on your profile)
iv) Complete your full profile professionally (Don’t go out of your way to be boring, use light touch language – easy to read)
v) Join and Participate in some cool groups where your key connections hang-out (the group must have at least a few thousand members and active posts)
2. Reach out Consistently in a Personal Way – Don’t Spam!
I like to consistently send out connection invitations to key people that I want to connect to for different projects that I am working on. Personally I like to make sure I include the person’s name in my salutation remarks.
If we haven’t met yet but have mutual/shared connections or part of the same group I might mention these. I also look for a chance to give a genuine compliment based on something I like about their profile – maybe experience, a cause they support, a company they work for, diversity of industries – whatever catches my attention. I tell them why I want to connect and I always put my mobile number as I sign off the invite – this tells the other person that I am real and genuinely interested to connect – and I find that people appreciate that.
Pro-tips: Here is an example connection invite – “Hi Joe, you have an awesome background in Banking and Technology which is an area I am keenly interested in…also noticed you are based here in Melbourne, thought I would reach out and connect – hope we can have a chance to speak soon.
Cheers, Davis Mutabwa 0405521461”.
(Note – there’s a 300 character limit on invites, I always select “Friend” on – how do you know this person question – as that allows me to personalise my message, oh and this approach doesn’t work on a mobile device has to be on the full website).
3. Say Thank You & Offer to Shout them a Coffee.
Now that you are connected, send them a thank you message in LinkedIn messages, appreciate them for taking time to accept your invite, then wait!
You want to wait for their response, here is why, most people don’t get thanked enough, so your little note could be the highlight of their evening train ride back home from a hectic day at work. Guess what they will say to you? Happy to have you as a part of my network – would be great to chat sometime…or something along those lines.
That’s your cue to see if you could shout them a coffee and pick their brain on a career move you are contemplating or a business project you are incubating. Again compliment them, be genuine and just ask for a catch up – remember to include your mobile number again in your sign off.
4. Make it All About Them.
Now that you are having that coffee with this key contact of yours, don’t do all the talking – do your best to make it all about them and listen. A nice kind of acronym to help you out is “FORD” – ask about Family, Occupation, Recreation and Dreams/aspirations – now LinkedIn makes it super easy to get a look into some of these questions before you catch up, so read up and engage in a richer conversation.
We all love talking about ourselves – you will amazed at how passionate the conversation gets as soon as you genuinely ask about something the other person loves!
It’s not a pitching time for your business or probing into job openings, just have a good chat and if there is a good mutual connection you can chat a little bit about your project or career aspirations and then see if you can set up a second chat and this can be on the phone or another coffee – this is where you can get into your project. Does it take effort you bet!
Finally brethren…using this approach I grew my local connections on LinkedIn from a few hundred to over 1,500 in a few months because I was intentional about it (over 3k now). I have met over 100 corporate professionals and entrepreneurs over the last 12 months and made some valuable connections of people I didn’t previously know – you can do the same.
Converting these connections into new business revenue or that new career role is a by product of the process, but if done correctly and given time that will definitely be a natural next step.
Relationship building takes time, have a little patience. One my most recent coaching clients connected with me about 5 months ago and only decided to do business with me last week because we kept in touch and they continued to read my weekly blog content (which is another part of the equation that i won’t get into here), bottom line is – just stay consistent and enjoy the ride.
Another note is this – don’t stop doing all your other networking and marketing strategies – together it will all work together and add up to that ka-boom effect!
To Your Success
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