You sent someone an invite a LinkedIn, they accepted and now you have a new LinkedIn connection. Congratulations! You have managed to grow your network by not just one person but potentially many more people. Remember your network includes first level, second level and third level connections. What’s next?
Welcome note – How about sending a welcome note to your new LinkedIn connection? Normally when you make a new connection on LinkedIn, you will receive an email from LinkedIn with information about your new contact which includes their email address. In your note you are just acknowledging your new LinkedIn connection. You could go something like, “hi X, it’s great to connect with you on LinkedIn. I look forward to interacting with you and finding out more about what you do.”
This is a note you can send from within your e-mail and it will have your signature with the designation and contact details. I would recommend that you do this for every single LinkedIn connection that you make. What about the connections you have already have and that you didn’t acknowledge? It’s fine don’t worry about it; I’m sure you are already keeping in touch with them in any case.
No pitching, no selling, no marketing – We are still on the welcome note to new LinkedIn connection. In the note you are sending the main objective or call was just to start building a relationship. Since the focus is on building a relationship there is no pitching of products or services, no selling or marketing of anything. You be basically hitting the ball into the new LinkedIn connections court. Your next steps will be determined by whether you get a response or not. Based on the kind of response that you get, you can make a call on how you want to take things going forward. Some may argue that this approach is very slow if you’re trying to sell something. However, I would argue that a person is most likely only going to do business with you if they know, like and trust you. The “know,like and trust” principle is a basic one in networking. We generally do not do business with perfect strangers or people we hate.
Go through their profile – Make sure that when you start interacting with your new connection you’ve taken time to study their profile and this will give you a good idea of what it is that they do as well as their background. Hopefully they will have a fairly detailed LinkedIn profile. You don’t want to give the impression in your interaction with them that you have absolutely no idea what they do, which industry they are in and whether interest especially when they’ve put all this information on their LinkedIn profile. In any case you probably have gone through their profile already before you connected with them.
Be on the lookout – When you get a response from your new connection on LinkedIn, be on the lookout for questions about what you do, your company or something similar. Make the most of such an opportunity. However don’t go overboard in the information you give. Include a few lines about what you do and what your company does but not including the entire company profile. All the time be thinking about how you can add value to your new LinkedIn connection. What have you got offer what have you got to give. What I am referring to hear I things that you can offer at no cost, in line with the pay forward principle.
Chance to meet talk or interact more – When you make a new connection LinkedIn, try and get to interact with your new connection as soon as possible while the momentum is still there. I gain when you’re meeting or chatting to the person on Skype, the idea is not to pitch or sell at all. You’ve taken a genuine interest in your new connection and you want to find out more about them in the business. All this might seem like investing you a lot of time in new connections. However if your LinkedIn network is going to work for you, you will probably also have to work with them. Well this is the principle this is why I believe in terms of networking.
Tagging your new connection – Remember to tag your new LinkedIn connection. It will make it easier to find them in future. Tag all your new connections as you go along. A fully tagged address book is most invaluable.
Is all this necessary? – Is this all this necessary just to network? Isn’t it going over the top. Why not just connect with someone and see what happens? I suppose that might work as well. However, I am looking at the long term, investing in a relationship. I am trying to get more information about my new connection and always looking for synergies and win-win partnerships while I am at it.
Your own style – By interacting with more people on LinkedIn, as you get more new connections and you will establish your networking style. Over time you will see what works for you and what doesn’t. You will become comfortable with doing things in a certain way and you will be able to see what is effective and what isn’t. The whole idea I believe this to be able to get value from your LinkedIn network and to add value to LinkedIn network.