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.
We turned up in the studio late night/
That’s why the songs that you hear are comin’ real tight Song: Who Do You Love
Artist: YG and Drake
LinkedIn has the world’s largest professional network with over 277 million users and increasing users every day. So I wanted to test things out and see what type of professionals are on LinkedIn. I did this because a common objection and miss conception by some sales professionals is that “my customer is not on LinkedIn.” I have also heard, “my customers are very private and they are not that tech savvy to be on LinkedIn.” Another one I have heard is, “LinkedIn is for people looking for jobs. I don’t think anyone is on there that is a decision maker.”
Okay, so to help my fellow sales professionals step into Sales 2.0 I did some research on LinkedIn statistics. I also ran some fun outrageous searches to demonstrate that 1) for the most part, EVERYONE is on LinkedIn 2) LinkedIn is a tool that you can connect with people in every vocation known and 3) jump on the connection bandwagon before you get left in the cold because more sales professionals are using social selling (LinkedIn) to build relationships, generate leads, and turn cold calls into warm calls. So why aren’t you connecting?
Using statistical stats from Craig Smith of Digital Marketing Ramblings (DMR) along with my fun outrageous searches I believe after you read this you will jump to action and start connecting to build your network. Trust me, you will reap the benefits of taking time to grow your network.
DMR states that LinkedIn has 84 Million U.S. users. I ran a search for Stunt Doubles and found over 100+ Stunt Doubles. Hmmm, if I were looking for stunt doubles I now know they are on LinkedIn. There are 2.1 million groups in LinkedIn. You think there is a group for Stunt Doubles? I bet they do have one and all you have to do is join it. Your next step is to actively participate in the discussion to show you are a resource. This is one way to grow your network.
My curiosity started growing after the first search so I ran a query for NASA Astronauts. I admit that I don’t know anyone that is an astronaut but I did a search and yep, I found them on LinkedIn. I’m thinking about connecting with them to get some dry ice cream. 40% of users check LinkedIn daily. This means that sales professionals have a huge opportunity to deliver meaningful content that will get seen by decision makers. This beats knocking on doors and leaving “leave behinds” or your business card with the office manager. We all know where those “leave behinds” and business cards go…Chateau De Trash Can.
Let’s see what happens when I run a search for Nuclear Physicist. You think these guys are on LinkedIn? There are more than 300+ on LinkedIn. I’m going to connect with them and build a Sales 2.0 flux capacitor for the DeLorean sales approach being used by those not utilizing social selling. We are going to usher them into the new world of sales and update those 1985 tactics. There are 200 conversations per minute occurring in LinkedIn groups. I have a hunch that customers are doing research, learning about solutions, and making buying decisions. You can become part of the conversation if you are connected and join in the discussion.
Feeling really curious, I ran a search looking for Farmers, Plumbers, and Butlers. Ha! They were all on LinkedIn. It’s pretty conclusive to me that any and everyone is on LinkedIn so why not use this valuable resource to help you connect with your customers and “ski downhill” versus “swimming upstream?” No matter what industry you are in, your customers and decision makers are on LinkedIn and they are connecting. LinkedIn has over 1500 School and University profiles. I bet you that professors, and school administrators are on LinkedIn. BTW, I have found Judges, Mayors, and even Press Secretaries on LinkedIn.
Here are some more DMR stats on LinkedIn. The stats are pretty impressive and you have an opportunity to take advantage of this to grow your network, connect with customers, build your pipeline, and close deals.
• LinkedIn more than 277 million total users.
• 41% of LinkedIn visits is via mobile.
• LinkedIn is available in over 20 languages.
• Every second there are two new LinkedIn members joining the network.
• The average number of groups a LinkedIn user joins is seven.
• There are 8000 new groups created weekly.