Meet the People You Need to Meet: LinkedIn in 5 Steps
LinkedIn is perhaps the most game changing tool to come along in the world of networking since the invention of the business card. In the past, to network with people who could help you with your business or career, you had to physically go to a networking event. You had to go to your local Business Networking International meeting, your local Toastmasters club or your local Chamber of Commerce to meet like minded people.
This took time and could only be done every once in a while. Even the most avid networkers could only manage about one mingler a day. Most won’t even go to one a month. LinkedIn changes all that by making networking all digital. Today, connecting with the people you need to connect with is just a few clicks away.
That said, navigating the world of LinkedIn can be very tough. Movers and shakers have dozens of connection requests every week. How do you make yourself stand out, so you can build a relationship with them – where so many others fail? These five steps will help.
1. Come Up With a Winning Value Proposition
Before you connect with someone, think of something valuable that you can do for his or her company or career. Don’t go looking for handouts.
In other words, don’t begin a new interaction with someone you’ve never met by asking them to help you get a job. Instead, come up with a way that you can help them. This is the value proposition you’ll use in your initial message.
2. Find People who’ll Compliment Your Business or Career
Look for people who could help you move forward in the world. Look through your friends’ connections, your clients’ connections and your business associates’ connections.
Look for people with whom you could form a win-win relationship. For example, let’s say you’re a real estate agent. Ask yourself: What kind of people could you find win-win connections with? One answer might be a mortgage broker or loan associate.
People will often go to get pre-approved for a mortgage before they go looking for homes. People will also often look for homes before they’ve secured financing. Both of you will be able to refer business to one another. Win/win.
3. Making the First Contact
The first contact should be all about them. Lead out with your value proposition. Tell them exactly how you want to help them and why it’d be worth their time to accept your connection and discuss your proposition further.
Make your first message concise, to the point and powerful. Don’t tip toe around the issue. Your value proposition should be powerful enough to get people to listen. Going on and on will just dilute the power of your message.
4. Think Relationship, Not Transaction
People often look at LinkedIn as a single transaction that they’re trying to complete. For example, they’re trying to get this person to give them a job interview. Or they want someone to connect them with an investor. It’s a one-time transaction.
Real LinkedIn power connectors don’t think this way. Instead, they think in terms of relationships. They aim to connect with more people and build real relationships with more people.
In a great relationship, you’ll regularly help one another out and continue to benefit each other’s lives and careers over a long period of time. If you’re getting in contact with movers and shakers, this is often the only way you’ll get them to do things for you. They simply don’t have time to help people who’re just there for a one-time transaction. Winners and to work with people who’ll help them win in the long run.
5. Help Connect Other People
Finally, help connect other people. Once you’ve been using LinkedIn for a while, your network will be considerable. People will come to you asking for connections. Or, even without asking, you’ll spot people in your network who should really know one another.
When you spot these connection opportunities, act on them. Help people meet other people. Helping connect two people who’d benefit from one another’s connection is one of the highest value things you could do for someone. You help two people and generate a lot of professional goodwill in the process.
If you follow these five steps, you’ll be able to meet just about everyone you want to meet on LinkedIn. Whether you’re looking for an employer or an employee, an investor or an investment, a vendor or a client, these steps will help you find them, connect with them and develop a relationship with them.