I love LinkedIn. I love the business community, vibrancy, interaction, connections and opportunities it offers. I teach numerous workshops on leveraging this magnificent tool for business and career growth and write profiles for individuals and businesses to improve their branding. I love LinkedIn.
I respect that there are different strategies in leveraging LinkedIn; there is really no one size fits all way to utilize the capacity offered by LinkedIn. That being said, there is one small piece of advice or request that I have for those looking to build their network: slow down.
Time is one of our most valuable resources. I teach a 15 minute plan to optimize LinkedIn fully understanding that many people do not have or want to spend a lot of time on LinkedIn yet still want results. I get it, we are busy people.
The problem with using “busy” as an excuse is we get lazy and try a let’s throw a bunch of stuff at the wall and see what sticks approach: mass or generic push responses.
When I get a mass or generic push response, I immediately devalue that connection in my head.
Let me define “generic push response.” It is the response a person sends after you connect with them that is an immediate sales pitch. It is like saying, “Hey, thanks for accepting my invitation, now hire me!”
Some people do not accept invitations unless they know the person or have a second degree connection with them. Others will accept outside that circle only if there is a note within the connection introducing themselves and giving a reason as to why they want to connect.
I do not have a filter on who I connect with; well, except inappropriate comments. I do not connect with people who send me icky messages. Other than that, I am happy to connect with fellow LinkedIn-ers. It is all about business.
Some people connect with me because they are ready to move forward with their career or business and want to work with me. Some might someday maybe want to change so they connect with me, just in case. Some want to connect to someone I know. Others are building their connections. Others have liked my articles.
Recently I received an email: “Hi, Lisa! Thanks for accepting my connection request!” (a very happy person) and then it was followed by the generic push.
But this generic push made me laugh. I went back to my settings and noticed this person had viewed my profile.
Their generic push – to teach me how to use LinkedIn.
They viewed my profile, yet I do not think they read it. Either that or this was their subtle way of telling me that they think I really stink at the whole LinkedIn thing.
If nothing else, this person has made an impression. I immediately had a few questions go through my head:
~ Do you think the generic, pre-fab response is the best for me? Do I fit in the model of your other prospects?
~ How about a slight attempt to get to know me a little before you try to sell me?
~ Is that your greatest value that you want to immediately introduce me to – hiring you? The only value as a connection is for me to pay you?
When you are building your network and want to engage in conversations to deepen the connections, make it a conversation.
Send a thank you for the request or acceptance.
Read their profile and ask them a question about themselves, their industry or company. Something that demonstrates that you read their profile. I had a great message the other day, the gentleman clearly read my profile and asked me a clarifying question about what I do.
Find the spark. This will happen during a conversation; you will discover the topic or item that will make it click to introduce your services. Wait for it, watch for it and build to it.
An accepted connection request is the beginning, not the immediate sales point. Like any other networking, connection comes with time, effort and work. Put in the right amount of each with respect to your connections and you will reap much greater, deeper and richer rewards.