Cultivating Your LinkedIn Connections For Fun and Profit


Actually, just for profit. But that’s fun too. 

A couple months ago I wrote about how you can identify the connections that are worth improving your relationship with. These are the ones that may become prospects or suppliers or other types of people that can help you down the line. The morning that I published that, I got this note from one of the subscribers:

“You left everyone hanging! Now that they have identified those “special” connections, what do they do with them? How do they segregate them? How do they make sure that their content or comments or postings go to them??”

So in answer to that question, here are four steps you can take:

1) Get them in your CRM

And yes, you should actually have a CRM tool of one kind or another. The key here is the “M” because you want to manage your relationship with them. And that means tracking what you have been doing. At its most basic, all you want to be able to do is to identify people you are working to promote your relationship with. While there may be overlap with other work you are doing, your goals with these people should be pure relationship building.

2) Figure out how often you want to reach out to them

Frequency will be a function of several things, but in particular how big your “ask” is. For example, there is a big difference between making your case and asking for a phone call now, or asking for a phone call after you have interacted four or five times with them and built your credibility more slowly. The other big factor is just the raw number of people you are enrolling in this little program at any one time. You may have fifty people you want to work to develop your relationships with and it will make a big difference if you are doing, say ten at a time, or all fifty.

3) Figure out what you want to offer to help them

There are more things you can offer your connections than you are probably aware of. How about a phone call to see what types of people they would like to meet so you can see if any of your connections would be a good fit for them? Can you endorse them on LinkedIn? How about a recommendation? Can you write a testimonial for them? Do you have a case study on that new technology their company is getting involved in. Send them a copy. How about blogs or podcasts they might be interested in? Offer to send them the links.

Now I don’t do all these at once, as that can be a little overwhelming and to be honest would be just a little bit weird. What I do is have two of them ready, usually one “thing” like a white paper, and one “service” like an offer of a LinkedIn recommendation. Then I add another one each time I reach out to them.

The overriding theme here is “I am a resource and I want to help you achieve your goals.”

4) Set aside time to contact the people at the top of the list each week.

Three suggestions on starting this up: start slow, make it a priority and do it. Start slow because you want to take the time to do it correctly. Make it a priority, don’t kind of say to yourself, I will fit this in if I get some extra time at the end of the day. And do it: get it done. Make it a habit, a part of your day, and of your week.

This isn’t that difficult and it works. The hard part is starting. Start, keep at it and you will make it part of your LinkedIn habits.

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month.

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