We all know that LinkedIn is one of the most valuable business tools available to us, but very few of us know how to actually use it to our advantage – particularly when it comes to real-life interactions with potential clients or partners.
Christie McCabe, LinkedIn expert and founder of the Connection Kernel, shares some bites of must-know info to help you on your way to using LinkedIn to help you build connections at your next networking event, she’ll be leading our next haven business hub workshop with tips on how to use LinkedIn.
Do you have a group of referral partners whom you touch base with regularly to help grow your business, and vice versa? Do you have a structure around this process to make the partnership work for all involved? Have you been trained by your partner about what to listen out for in a conversation to make a qualified referral?
Filling your network with the right sorts of people means you will attract the right sorts of clients. Take a moment to consider the five people who you are most often in contact with, and ask yourself: what conversations do you have with them? Are they positive? Do they help you grow? Do they challenge and inspire you? If not, it might be time to rethink your influencers.
LINKEDIN TIP: make connections before attending an in-person event…
Mentioning a LinkedIn connection in conversation establishes common ground, and helps people to remember you after meeting you in person.
When attending a networking event or searching online, expand your thinking to not only look for your ideal clients but also potential partners. Rather than focusing just on the end client, focus on the door opener who can help grow your business with their networks.
Consider everyone around you as part of your network – on social media, at networking events, at work. If you offer fantastic value to every person you meet, you open doors to other networks.
LINKEDIN TIP: customize your connection request…
Personalise your message by offering a warm greeting, sharing your name and business, and the reason you would like to connect. Keep it short, simple and friendly.
You don’t have to do business alone – it isn’t any fun. Use other people’s networks, and do business with other people.
TRY THESE NETWORKING TIPS:
- Open with ‘tell me more about you’.
- Find one way to help that person – show you care and want to help.
- Have a good icebreaker question if you need to break into a conversation.
- When speaking with people in a group, have an open stance which will attract others to talk with you.
- Look for groups with an open stance.
- It takes 45 days to be forgotten, don’t be forgotten. Connect on LinkedIn to stay in touch.
LINKEDIN TIP: follow up strategically…
Remember that people do business with people that they know, like and trust. Nurture your relationships with prospective clients or partners – figure out creative, helpful ways to engage connections. Reply to comments, share article and resources they might find valuable, congratulate connections and connect people who you think will benefit from one another.
Your actions are impacted by how you think about your network. Most people believe the only time you want to speak with them is when you want something – change that. Your thinking around networking has to show your network you care, and then opportunities will grow for you. Be visible and don’t be forgotten. Stay front of mind (FOM) and create a personal engagement plan (PEP) to stay at the forefront of your networks mind.
LINKEDIN TIP: make indirect connections…
Not everyone you connect with on LinkedIn should be seen as a potential customer. Business partnerships and relationships are valuable, and worth cultivating and nurturing.
For more information and advice about how you can use LinkedIn to grow your business, attend haven business hub x Link Events’ upcoming seminar with Christie McCabe. Head here for more info // www.havenmagazine.com.au