Figure it out.
What kind of a connector do you want to be?
Consider the Golden Rule. Consider connecting. How about? Connect unto others as you would want them to connect with you.
Good connecting is reciprocal; Potentially even an agreement that you will contribute in some way to someone else’s success, business or conversation. Are you up for that? Or, are you looking for what you can get?
If that’s your intent, just call it what it is. Realize though this is a short term plan and won’t sustain powerful connections for the long term.
We’re not talking friends and family. We’re talking professionals who are busy, intentional, on their own professional path with their own specific agenda.
Are you planning on connecting with people you don’t know in hopes of selling to them?
Hmm….how do you like to be hustled?
Are you planning on connecting with people that are second level connections because you think it’s close enough?
Hmmm….how do you like to be approached by people you don’t know who act like they know you?
Are you planning on connecting with people who are in your CRM that you’ve been asked to “reach out” to because your company worked with them ten years ago?
Hmmm….how relevant do you think this looks?
Are you planning on messaging your 30 second elevator pitch or your newly written value proposition thinking it will be the key to getting a meeting?
Hmmm…how do you respond to a sales pitch when it’s colder than cold?
Sit up and consider how you are connecting and what you are saying. Give people a reason to connect with you. Give them a real reason to answer you. No one wants to be a jerk, but a weak, poorly-written, generic message is lame.
Don’t draft these lame messages in the moment. Think about them; Craft them, tweak them and test them. Determine which messages actually work and with whom. We often think people will automatically want to connect with us. Slow down Sam….that’s a bad assumption. I discuss this in my post, The CEO May Not Want to Connect. I talk about the value of building a strong network in my post, My Network is a Microcosm.
I can find hundreds of people who might be good prospects, Connections, clients and strategic partners but it means little if I don’t know the best way to distill their profiles, our shared connections, Groups, Influencers, etc. I need to understand how to discern, find points of entry, be interesting and know how to begin a conversation and be comfortable (take that as not awkward) talking virtually.
Spend a couple of days drafting a plan to work more strategically online, especially in LinkedIn. LinkedIn is not the place to slack. Consider the upside and realize the downside of not paying attention, knowing next steps and being a good and considerate social citizen.
Here are seven suggestions to rev up your network:
- Export your LinkedIn Connections and review them. Remove the Connections you don’t know.
- Reach out to the Connections you know and haven’t talked to in six or more months.
- Look at your Connections and work to determine your centers of influence. Who are the most connected and active Connections? Stay in touch with them.
- Support your network. Participate in their activity. Share, Like and Comment on their posts and discussions.
- Message five to ten Connections a week and ask how you might help them network; Say hello and wish them a good day.
- Be likable.
- Rinse and repeat.
I know this works. How? It’s what we do and it’s what we recommend to our clients. One of our clients called me two days after a coaching session and said he went back to his office and did just what we discussed. He reached out to ten people who he had not talked with in months and simply said hello, asked how they were doing and added a personal comment. Within five hours he had five responses and one of those asked him for a proposal that resulted in $15,000 in new business.
That may not happen to you initially but if you are likable, good at what you do, intentional and a good networker, it should happen for you frequently. I think it’s worth finding out, don’t you?
Start! Watch what happens. Pay attention. Look for authentic opportunities to help others and build a sense of good will and spirit so when you really need an introduction or referral there are plenty of people to choose from. You see, in the end, it’s not about them. It’s about you and how you understand doing business in a social world.