Connecting On LinkedIn Has Its Privileges. Here Are Four Of Them.

One is obvious, the other three less so. But the more you use LinkedIn, the more the “less so” ones become important.

When you are connected to someone on LinkedIn:

  • You can send each other messages directly over LinkedIn. This doesn’t replace email, the phone or whatever messaging system you use, but it does come in handy for LinkedIn-centric messages such as referencing someone you know mutually on LinkedIn, or drawing their attention to someone or something of interest on LinkedIn.
  • You have visibility into your connection’s actions on LinkedIn – you will be notified when they do things such as posting or commenting, sharing or liking someone else’s post. Once again, the same notifications apply in reverse – they will have a window into what you are doing on LinkedIn. By default you are considered part of each other’s network on LinkedIn, and connections see what the other connections in their network are up to.
  • You rank higher in your connection’s search results on LinkedIn. As LinkedIn is one huge database full of people, an obvious application is to use that database for searches – for suppliers, vendors, prospects, experts, new staff, information, discussions on specific topics …anything. And one of the things you will find is that LinkedIn wants search results to be relevant to the searcher, and if one or more of their connections get found in the search, LinkedIn will tend to list them at or near the top of the search results. If you are searching for a WordPress expert, it makes sense for LinkedIn to list WordPress experts you are already connected with first.

So if one of your connections looks for someone in your field, you are going to appear high in the search results. This is why it is a good idea to connect with prospects. This may seem a little odd, I mean, who would forget you and what you are good at? Why would a search be needed? The answer is actually quite simple. Some people amass huge networks of connections on LinkedIn – two thousand, five thousand or more. It is pretty easy to forget people when you have that many in your “connection rolodex.”

This happens to me often – I have a large network and I will be asked something like, “Bruce, do you know anyone who works at Goldman Sachs?” Often it is a skill, profession or company I am not as familiar with and I really don’t know what I am going to turn up (I picked the company name at random, but it turns out I do know someone at Goldman Sachs).

  • Connections show pathways to other people on LinkedIn that you didn’t know exist. You may find a prospect on LinkedIn and see the little “2nd” postscript after their name and then the person or people both you and that person are connected with on LinkedIn. You can use this information in two ways. The first is to name drop the mutual connection’s name in a message or invitation to connect, which implies you are worth connecting with too. To be fair, this is the easy thing to do, which makes it the thing most people do, but it’s a pretty weak approach. The second – and better – use is to use that mutual connection or one of your mutual connections as an intermediary, and ask them to introduce you to the person of interest to you. Alternatively, you can ask if you can use them as a referral, or even just ask them for information that can help you with on this person you are interested in.

Any tool that provides pathways and ways of contacting prospects, suppliers and vendors, experts, or prospective partners is a good thing. Any tool that allows you to build thousands of pathways is a powerful thing.

Direct messaging, notifications, search result prominence, pathways to prospects. Being connected means a lot more than you probably think it does. Start taking advantage of the privileges you have been given.

Obligatory boilerplate: 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. But I was an early subscriber to Sales Navigator and have a grandfathered subscription where I pay a lot less than I should. Don’t tell LinkedIn. Thanks.

Want more like this? (the newsletter I mean, not the disclaimer) 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: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

Well, What Is In It For Them, Anyway?

As I am always going on about, “it’s not about you, it’s about them” in your interactions with others on LinkedIn – especially in connecting and outreach – it was only a matter of time before I got asked this.

I had someone ask me this the other week. They were sending connection requests to prospective customers and they were having a tough time coming up with a good reason for the person to connect with them.

To their credit, they were honest with me in describing the situation. “I want business from them, so this is kind of a one way street. What can I offer them?”

This is what happens when we have the blinders on. We see something we want – in this case a connection to a hot prospect – and all we can see is what that will do for us. It blinds us to the other person’s perspective and their problems, wants and needs.

There are three things you can offer the person you are connecting with.

1) Your knowledge. Everyone seems to forget this. You spend every hour of every day helping people like your prospect solve the problem they have. This is what you do. While it may be a new and novel situation for them, it’s something you see all the time. They are the person looking online for the recipe for a dinner dish, while you’re a chef who cooks twenty of those every night.

2) Your experience with their industry. This is different from your knowledge in that you are putting the knowledge into practice in different situations. This is important because your past experience solving problems like the ones they have will reassure them that you are someone worthwhile they should know.

3) Lastly, you have something that is uniquely LinkedIn: your network of connections. And this applies to most anyone you meet on LinkedIn. If you have any size network at all you have the ability to introduce or refer this new person to someone they want to know. Need help with CRM? I have connections who work for CRM companies, I have connections who are independent CRM consultants, and ones that are CRM power users. People in similar positions to themselves? No problem. Suppliers? Got you covered.

Access to your network is actually a pretty powerful thing to be able to offer.

Your job in making your request to connect or in sending an outreach message for that matter, is to show the recipient that the potential benefits of responding are compelling.

Obligatory boilerplate: 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. But I was an early subscriber to Sales Navigator and have a grandfathered subscription where I pay a lot less than I should. Don’t tell LinkedIn. Thanks.

Want more like this? (the newsletter I mean, not the disclaimer) 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: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/

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.

Want more like this? I publish three weekly email newsletters on LinkedIn for Sales, LinkedIn for Marketing and Advanced LinkedIn Strategies and Tactics. Each is typically a two or three minute read, free, and and you can unsubscribe anytime. Here’s a link to the sign up page: https://practicalsmm.com/contact/