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LinkedIn networkOpportunities need to stop being transactions entered into your CRM. They need to be viewed from a different context.

Opportunities are people. The people we’ve known, we know and those we will meet.

Our culture and our business practices should slow down and take a deep breath. We are all about faster, more, better—but all with less. Everyone is exhausted and confused. We can’t keep up with the email, information, process, reports, call sheets, and social. As we wind up for the rest of the year, the onslaught is probably even more pronounced. Suddenly, rather than 12 months to reach the goal, there are only four months. It can be exhausting just thinking about it.

If we step back and look at what we need to accomplish for the remainder of the year professionally, perhaps we will tap into the collaborative spirit of the people we know. Your LinkedIn network is the most logical place to start.

Here are 20 ways to tap in:

You need to hire. Look in your LinkedIn network.

  • Who might fit into your culture with the skills you are looking for?
  • If you don’t know anyone, who do you know who may? Ask them for a recommendation.
  • Look at the people in your network who have strong and diverse networks. They probably know more than one person looking for a new position.
  • Make sure the person in charge of hiring understands how to reach out, nurture and engage personally and through social channels. If you don’t, find someone who does. Recruiting, at least in small to mid-sized firms should not be transactional, there’s too much at stake.
  • Continue to grow and nurture your network so when you need to reach out the door is open.
  • If a candidate doesn’t fit at your organization, keep them in mind for other opportunities you know about. Yes, even a competitor’s.
  • Really good recruiters create a pipeline and develop relationships with people. I’m not sure internal hiring managers think of hiring in the same way. Build your internal hiring process to resemble a search firm especially if you are in growth mode.
  • You should know the top developers, analysts, attorneys, designers, business developers, accountants in your town and you should know how to reach them quickly and efficiently.

You need to jumpstart your prospecting. Look in your LinkedIn network.

  • Who do you know who really understands what you offer and to whom? Do they really understand? If not, start there. Make sure they are crystal clear on what you do and who your ideal customer is. Then ask them who they think you should meet in their network.
  • Determine the companies you’d like to work with because you know you can deliver something they need and don’t yet have figured out. Then:
    • Write down a list of  those companies, filter based on title or keywords to find the person in the organization you should talk to.
    • How are you connected to them?
    • Find the people who are second-level connections and start there. There’s opportunity, no doubt. You are only one step removed from that person.
    • Save that search (top right corner).
    • Look at that list and either reach out directly, ask for an introduction, or pick up the phone and call them (now you have their name).
  • See what Groups those people are in and join them. Are they participating in the Group? If so, pay close attention to what they are posting and saying. If they’re not, at least you share the Group and you can use as a point of common ground.

You need to differentiate yourself. Look in your LinkedIn network.

  • Acknowledge others in LinkedIn. I have a crazy-active network filled with fascinating people connecting, sharing, commenting on ideas, people and business. Yes, it’s often overwhelming but it also shows me that opportunities abound and business is happening. If I reach out and say hello, meetings get set, ideas are exchanged, people realize others are actually out there and paying attention.
  • Be interesting. Stop selling and pitching. No explanation necessary.
  • Say something meaningful. Ask a question. Share some professional insight. Make conversation. Elizabeth Bernstein in her Wall Street Journal article, How To Be A Better Conversationalist, talks about how small talk makes us more likable. It makes us more human, too, especially online. Read her article and apply it to LinkedIn. Knock off the rust and see if something good happens.
  • Find remarkable content, read it, share it and add in a comment that shows you actually did read it. Send it to your entire network, to particular Groups or to individuals. Use content intentionally to show your bandwidth and expertise.

You need more qualified opportunities. Look in your LinkedIn network.

  • If you don’t have enough opportunities then you don’t know enough people.
  • Go wide and deep in companies. Know more than your point of contact, wow, even writing that makes me cringe.
  • Broaden your LinkedIn view and consider inviting some people you might not normally connect with.
  • Actually worked toward knowing and meeting those people.
  • Ask for opportunities to share your expertise by speaking or mentoring.

You see, in the end, it’s all about people. Each suggestion involves one person interacting with another to source an outcome. It’s not free, it’s not transactional, it’s not a shortcut. Be the person who reaches out, shares and connects in an intentional way for good. Good comes back to you. Need to learn more about how to do some of these things? Consider checking out some of our other posts and resources.