In my last post, I wrote about the importance of an authentic LinkedIn profile and what that entails. I actually paused during a workshop last week and had everyone read it. Why? Not because it was an amazing post but because they were having a hard time wrapping their arms around what it means to tell their story. And, they needed to understand this concept before they could write something meaningful. You see, they were stuck trying to make it “resume-like.” The majority of those in the session were in career transition. All the more important to stand out, to differentiate, to be bold.
Once this concept clicks, it’s time to move on to building those relationships. Here’s an example to further illustrate my point:
“There’s a young guy in our office who is now the top producer and he does it all through LinkedIn. He says it’s a numbers game so he Connects with everyone and only needs a certain percentage to convert to appointments.”
I asked if he was interested in the same “strategy” and was hoping for similar results. I was relieved to hear the answer was “no.” He was astute enough to know that was not his style. Thank goodness.
This was merely two days after attending Selling Power’s Sales 2.0 Conference in Philly where the overriding theme was mindset and creating value for others. Interesting, right? And, when Jim Cathcart, well known speaker, motivator and consultant mentioned something so important I wished I captured it more carefully. We can know a lot of people, be connected to a lot of people but more important than that is whether those people actually want to know you and are glad they do.
Ahhh, this is great. It’s at the heart of everything we talk about. Do you know the people you are connected to, do you bring value to them, will they pause and take your call, read your email, open your post?
Whether you are a salesperson, an executive, starting your career or transitioning to a new position, that’s the holy grail.
Once again, it’s straight up authenticity.
The salesperson I mentioned above is building a LinkedIn lead list. It’s not really a highly engaged network and there is a good chance that his network won’t be able to refer, recommend or introduce him. After all, they don’t know him.
Is your network organic and the outcome of building bridges, opening doors and knowing people and who they are? Clearly, not all relationships are equal. I have a reasonably robust network, not large by many of my peers but one that has emerged from a conscious pursuit of quality over quantity. Some I meet in a workshop and we Connect; others I’ve worked with closely for years and are trusted colleagues and collaborators.
Here are a few bonuses to a great, well-built, highly-engaged LinkedIn network:
People recognize other people they know in your network (the power of tribes)
Your Connections refer you (through LinkedIn or not)
People write Recommendations on your behalf (without being asked)
People endorse you (please endorse others only for the skills you know they have)
Your Connections Like, Comment and Share your content
You feel like you learn more about them through their content and comments
They reach out once in awhile for nothing more than to say hello and ask how you are doing
They personalize their messages to you
When you call or email someone, they pick up the phone or answer your email
They take the time to answer their LinkedIn messages
A fellow LinkedIn evangelist and idea-collaborator mentioned the other day on a call that although he receives many sales messages/pitches/ through LinkedIn he answers everyone. That is impressive. He says it’s something akin to sending good vibes out into the world. (Note: he and I have never met, we’ve talked fairly regularly over the last couple of years, appreciate each other’s opinions and expertise and it’s the direct result of meeting through LinkedIn. He has referred business to us and we look for opportunities to work together).
As I traveled home from the conference I wondered more deeply about how my Connections would answer the question, “Are you glad to know Colleen?” I’m sure it would be a range of answers; some sures, some “Colleen who” and some not so much. In the end though it prompts me to be a better “Connection” and connector and think more carefully about how I can serve my network in little and large ways, stay in touch more frequently, reach out a bit more often with a personal note, pick up on a clue in a message and to practice small acts of kindness when I can.
And, in the spirit of Thanksgiving and finding gratitude a more necessary element of my day and life, I want to say thank you for reading, listening and working with us, Intero Advisory. We are blessed. We love our work, learn new things every day and work with great people ready to master new ways to sell, recruit and also become better connectors.
Give it some thought. How can you be the person people are glad to know?