Don’t Sweat The Short Term Results, Focus on Your LinkedIn Process


I read a really good book over the Christmas / New Years break, “The Biggest Bluff” by Maria Konnikova. She uses high stakes poker to talk about making better decisions. I liked it so much, I have already re-read it once, highlighting it like crazy, and have bought her other two books. Great stuff on the psychology of sales, and highly recommended.

One of her ideas is the basis behind today’s newsletter. In essence, she talks about not sweating the results of individual poker hands, but to focus on your process. Sometimes you are going to have a pair of aces, play the hand absolutely correctly, and have someone draw a better hand and beat you. You did everything right, but still lost. The problem is many people will focus on that hand and that loss, how unfair it was, and how they should have won. This is a waste of time. Instead, if you focus on your process, over time you will win your share of the hands played, and overcome the odd bit of bad luck.

There are two applications of this in our work in sales. The first is the obvious one in sales itself. You are going to get beaten by competitors, and sometimes that will be due to luck or bad breaks. I had a sale that I thought I had nailed down last year. Everything was in place. I especially had the key decision maker who had access to the funds on board. He was a big fan of using me to help his company. I was a week away from signing the deal and…that key guy jumpedship and went to another company, and everything he was working on became radioactive. I lost the sale. Bummer. But I did everything right. What was I going to do, make him stay there?

So when you lose a sale, or you don’t get the results you were hoping for in this one instance, don’t focus on the result, focus on the process. Is your process sound? Did you follow it? If the answer is yes, chalk up the loss to bad luck, and don’t think of it again. Over time, you will luck into a few too, and they will tend to even out.

The second application is with LinkedIn. The same holds true for LinkedIn that holds true for sales in general. If you follow your process, you will be successful. Except that there are two problems with this idea:

  1. Most people and companies don’t have a “LinkedIn process”
  2. And even when they do, they don’t follow it.

Most LinkedIn users have a vague idea of what they want to accomplish, but don’t articulate it very well (or at all!), and then the activities they pursue on LinkedIn don’t necessarily fit with what their goals are.

For those of us in sales there are four basic things that LinkedIn is good for:

  • LinkedIn can be used to increase our reach, making more people aware of us.
  • LinkedIn can be used to increase our credibility, having us seen as a viable alternative for our prospective customers.
  • LinkedIn research can give us info to build better outreach messages, increasing our success rate with new prospects.
  • LinkedIn can be an extremely effective place to send those initial outreach messages.

So my message for today is this: when you use LinkedIn, have a reason to do so. Know what you are trying to achieve. Have a plan for what activities or tasks will accomplish your goals. Have a process. Follow the process. Test the process when needed. And you will be successful.

I publish a weekly email newsletter on using LinkedIn effectively for Sales and Marketing. Each newsletter typically contains two to four articles, it’s free, and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page:

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.