April 1, 2014 I had 1390 connections on LinkedIn. As of May 12, 2014 my network has grown to 1795 connections on LinkedIn. That’s 30% change from April to present. This was all strategic and it was planned. My goal was to grow my network and connect with those who I could bring value to, and those that shared common passions. Those 405 connections include New York Times Best Sellers, expert sales trainers, social media gurus, and sales professionals across several industries. Here’s what I learned.
When you start growing your network begin with the value you plan on bringing to your connections. I only connect with professionals that I can bring value to their network or they can bring value to my network. I start with this because I know that power is the ability to leverage your network and resources to achieve greater levels of mutual success. This is why you must focus on the value you bring to your connections and how you can help them achieve a new level of success.
Secondly, use your passions, common interests, and organic network (such as high school, college, job, social groups, professional groups…etc.) to begin building your network. Here’s an example. I belong to a large fraternity that is international in membership. I am also a sales professional. My fraternity’s LinkedIn Group has thousands of members. I reached out to the Brothers of my fraternity and focused on those that were sales professionals. Why? We have two known commonalities. We are both members of the fraternity and we are also sales professionals. The same applied to alumni from the high school, and colleges I went to. Reach out to people and state the common interests, and passions you each share. Your network will grow.
Third, customize invites on LinkedIn work! Generic LinkedIn invites do not work! In fact, never ever send a person a generic invite. It’s rude to the person that you’re sending it to because if you are not willing to customize your invitation to connect, how are you able to state the value you bring to them professionally? Don’t take your connection for granted, take a second to draft out a short message speaking to them directly and explain to them how you can bring value to their network and how you would be honored to have them in your network.
Lastly, look at your Twitter followers. Doesn’t it make sense that those Twitter followers connect with you on LinkedIn? The relationships that exist on Twitter could be very mutually beneficial for you and the Twitter Follower/LinkedIn Connection. The same applies to Google+, Facebook, and other social media platforms. This is what surrounding/embracing a person socially is all about. It also helps you amplify your message and their message as you share, comment, and like their posts on multiple social platforms. Tie the knot around your connections by being connecting to them on multiple social platforms and show how you are helping them amplify their message. I have a simple rule on this. If you are following me on Twitter and we share a common interest or passion, we connect on LinkedIn. If you are in my Google+ Circle, and we share a common interest or passion, we connect on LinkedIn. It goes the other way as well. If we connect on LinkedIn, I look for you on Google+, and Twitter so we can surround each other socially.
There’s much more to discuss on this subject and I am willing to help you grow your network to achieve mutual success. Reach out to me and let’s get started helping you unlock the potential in your network to bring value to others by leveraging your network and resources to achieve greater levels of mutual success.
CJ Webster is the author of insidesalesmagic, a blog written to help sales professionals become knowledgeable about social selling and sales 2.0 strategies. He doesn’t provide smoke and mirrors, hocus pocus, or any presto chango posts. This is real writing from a sales prospective on the issues, challenges, and success we have as sales professionals. It is honest, raw, and uncut. Sales is a noble profession and one of the few professions where the playing field is equal. Insidesalesmagic will be right there giving you the secrets and tricks of the trade that will elevate your sales game.