Connections make LinkedIn hard work



Linkedin profiles can do a lot of work for you. This post is about how LinkedIn can help you differentiate yourself, get that all important face to face meeting, and go on to seal the deal.

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Starting out…

Recently I’ve been shadowed by a student in his penultimate year at university. James is a really intelligent young Gentleman and a credit to his parents. It has been a real pleasure and it all started when James sent me his CV and grabbed my attention in seconds.

We have been meeting professionals and researching what they’re looking for in candidates applying for training contracts. Both James and I are grateful for the time afforded to us by eminent professionals who were so willing to advise and make connections for us. The confidence boost James received has been quite something.

Wall flowers finish last

The overwhelming opinion has been differentiation is key. It’s great to have 22 applicants with loads of qualifications highly relevant to the profession. Yet with so many candidates it can be difficult to separate the chaff from the wheat.

So how do you differentiate yourself enough to show your skills, but without blowing your own trumpet?

Articulating your strengths

LinkedIn profiles give you the opportunity to highlight your strengths. It will build trust if you mention your weaknesses and how you seek to reduce them. The first 6 seconds of reading your CV are the most important. This article highlights which parts of a CV are read.

If you are going to ask for introductions on LinkedIn then you need to ensure that your profile is working hard for you. There is nothing worse than forwarding a profile for a connection and then having to explain why the connection makes sense. Especially if the request to forward is bland and doesn’t highlight why they are different.

Wrap up: Think of the LinkedIn profile as your CV and your message of introduction as a covering letter. Would you read your CV after receiving your covering letter?

Top tip: Make your profile work hard for you rather than asking others to do the hard work. Highlight the benefits that your personal brand offers. Share a contact’s profile with someone you think they have synergy. Can you make an Oscar Winning introduction for them?

Who to share this with: LinkedIn connections that receive bland introduction requests.

Links: Check out our Directors Briefing and our Partners Briefing networking events

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Are LinkedIn connections scared to meet you halfway?



LinkedIn is great isn’t it? I get invites to connect every day.  Some actually have a personalised note, which is a light touch. This post is about LinkedIn connections, follow up and next steps. It’s a fact that some people do these things well. Others not so well.

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Let’s connect……we can help each other!

I receive a LinkedIn invitation to connect from someone I don’t know. Such messages are not often that revealing. This message was actually personalised. Extra points. It explained we could help each other and encouraged me to look at their profile.

I duly took a peek and could see where the synergy lay. It seemed we both helped business owners in London and I was intrigued by the summary I found. I replied with my phone number and looked forward to the call.

Ping pong doesn’t mean ding dong

A quick voicemail rally followed and a conversation got underway. It started so well – ”I have loads of ways I can help you, I love what you’re doing”. Platitudes are something we hear everyday yet this guy wasn’t trying to sell me something, right? Wrong.

I asked how we were going to help each other and discovered my “beau” wanted to sell me a service that would, one day, provide me with a better business. So the way we would help each other is I would pay and he would play, one day I would get something. Mmmmm.

Next steps, treading carefully is better than not treading at all

I asked, purely out of curiosity, what the next step would be if I was interested. “I’m too busy to meet you. Come to my office, I’ll put the kettle on”, came the reply. It reminded me of a comment in a LinkedIn discussion that stated “people that get their business purely by networking are lazy!” This irked me at the time yet this might have been his overall experience played out in my World.

Realising that mutual help meant I would have to go to someone else’s office, listen to their pitch, pay them money and wait for a return I politely declined. But I do wonder how many people waste their time doing this? I meet people committed to business who are making things happen. Which means I get to spend less time with people whose get up and go has got up and left. Networking works better when you get out there.

Wrap up: There are many ways to provide benefits to others. The word mutual only applies when both people know what they’re getting. Ensure your profile is congruent with what you are actually offering to attract the right connections.

Top tip: Some people who ask you to “connect” may be following a LinkedIn guidebook. Check out their profile before rushing to delete their request. Try sending a few personalised invitations rather than a batch of lonely requests to connect.

Who to share this with: LinkedIn users who wonder what to do with requests to connect.

Further reading: What are you doing to your brand on LinkedIn?

 

 

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Group Leaders Growing Pains



Belonging to a group is something most of us like yet some groups get a bad press. Is it really well earned PR? This post is about how Networking Groups never get a second chance to make a first impression, two examples of why it’s so important to follow up effectively and how feedback is “the breakfast of improvement”.

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How do networkers unwrap the best networks?



I get asked this all the time and much like “What are the best modern ways of marketing?” there’s never an easy answer.

I was given recently given a book by John Brandler whom I met at a “hidden networking” event that my “competitors” never attend. They’re the best for me.

John is an art consultant and we had both, independently, decided to dip our toes into a network that was off the beaten track. The book is a great guide to fusing new & old techniques to help businesses gain new clients. This post is about why some networks remain hidden, connecting with the gems and how what you are “known for” can help you meet the right people.

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Networkers get results with old and new



What is the oldest form of marketing? Whether in a business environment where you get asked about your business or have the opportunity to present at a seminar, attending an exhibition, meeting friends or new people in a restaurant you need to let people know what you do. Networkers can achieve success by combining the oldest and the newest and complementing face to face with online activities.

“As the oldest form of marketing, networking still plays a major role in marketing your brand, product or service.” So say the authors of Fusion, a book about The new way of Marketing, who advocate having a VKUM – vision, key messages, USP’s and mission statement. I agree with them. This post is about why what you stand for is important, how do you define your vision in messages and how can USP’s and mission statements really help people remember you?

Welcome back, or if you’re new here sign up to our orange RSS button to the top right of this page. You will receive advanced business networking tips, new posts plus details of events and promotions that could help you or your network increase your profitable introductions.

What’s your VKUM?

I call this ‘your story’. Whatever you call it others want to know what it is. Talk about it with impact, panache and resonance to whomever asks “what do you do” and you will find it easy to meet your dream clients. Even if the person who asks met you at a random dinner party.

If you want them to think “I need that” you only have a tiny window or the opportunity may be lost forever. You have as little as 5 seconds when dealing with busy people. Especially if they’re not at an “organised” networking event. They don’t want to listen to a “pitch” full of features. They want to hear something that interests them.

How do you define your vision in key messages?

Your vision will be what you are eventually known for. Whether you’re passionate about children and delivering training to Mum’s or passionate about art and advising people on collections, you will have a good idea of what you want to be known for. Once you have worked that out you can start to develop key messages.

When networking you have a fantastic opportunity to tell your story and gauge the impact. People cannot always hide the fact they don’t get what you do. Networking helps you determine who doesn’t want what you have. The human element (most of us want to help each other) means networkers point you in the right direction. They can tell you who wants what you have or that they just don’t get it. That’s why networking still works today, it’s like minded people helping each other.

Why are people interested in USP’s and mission statements?

Busy people you meet are interested in what you have to offer them, then they are interested in you. Your USP’s are what you offer that other people don’t. Or what you offer that the person you are speaking to doesn’t already have. If you owned a poodle parlour, you might offer a reminder service much like a dentist. Simple, yet effective in these busy times.

The mission statement could be something like ‘ensuring no poodle has a curl out of place’. Combining these two elements when meeting dog lovers who ask what you do will certainly get their attention. You may think that only poodle owners are interested in this. Perhaps, yet if my best mate had a poodle that they loved I would not hesitate in making the connection. Saying you run a poodle parlour will mean I compare you to other poodle parlours I know about. Being the cheapest may not last forever.

Wrap up: Having a story can turn informal social meetings into business contacts. Initial interest can be developed with key messages and USP’s when appropriate. Combining offline and online networking ensures contacts remember you for what only you can do. Your vision and your mission.

Top Tip; The book has a to-do list for each form of new marketing mentioned on the home page for Fusion. Pick one that you are at least partly comfortable with and check if you are doing as much as you can to maximise the ROI. Find someone that uses a similar platform and compare results.

P.S. I recently got married and blogged about social connections making it happen. It’s got pictures which this blog is sadly missing.

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