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Blog #63 Understanding the Right Approach to Connecting on LinkedIn. It Isn’t Facebook

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As a continuation of posts intended to help you, the B2B sales professional understands the correct way to use LinkedIn, this edition will focus on LinkedIn connections, or how you need to approach populating your connection base on LinkedIn.

Of all the things misunderstood of what LinkedIn is, and what it isn’t, perhaps the most profuse area of misunderstanding is that of whom, and how many connections one should pursue.

Your connections, that is the people you either invite to become a connection, or those from whom you accept a connection, are key and pivotal to whether you will succeed in using LinkedIn, or not.

To be clear, and as a continuation of my last post on LinkedIn, “Blog #61 LinkedIn, It’s Not What You Think” – the following advice is targeted to those who would define themselves as “hunters “or, B2B sales professionals.

The first misnomer is that more connections are better, or even desirable for that matter.

LinkedIn isn’t Facebook, and your brand and professional status will not be enhanced by having a gazillion connections with little relevance to who you are or what you do. Most importantly, indiscriminate stockpiling of connections on LinkedIn will only hamper and dilute the effectiveness of other LinkedIn tools and features.

Quality, quality quality. Quality is the first and most important parameter to apply when soliciting or accepting LinkedIn connections. Quality will trump quantity ten out of ten times when it comes to those you connect with on LinkedIn leading to prospecting results.

First, you should know, even if not very well, those you connect with.

LinkedIn is about networking and networking requires someone to know you in order to promote you. A “connection” of any kind, be it on LinkedIn or elsewhere, isn’t a connection if that person will not engage with you. And as we all know, getting someone to “engage” that doesn’t know you is always a difficult task.

Connections with those you don’t know will just populate your connection base with a bunch of people that will have little, or no interest in interacting with or helping you.
Further more, requesting those you don’t know to connect will have a profoundly negative effect on your personal brand, as you will most certainly be perceived as another nuisance spammer.

Don’t buy in to the LinkedIn myth that any connection is a good connection.

LinkedIn connections that you’re not actually connected to in some way i.e. if someone mentions your name to one of your “connections”, and they don’t recognize it, this person isn’t really a connection.

And don’t buy into another LinkedIn myth (there are many) that most people will accept an invitation to connect by dint of the fact that you both share a common connection.

If you are Bill Gates or Richard Branson, random requests to connect may work, but for the rest of us mortals, you will find that unsolicited requests to connect, or requests made to people that don’t have at least some awareness of who you are, will generally get ignored.

If they are a target, which they most probably are since you are a hunter, you will just be cast into the same group of pesky prospectors, and even worse, you may be flagged as a spammer by LinkedIn.

Next, your connections should reflect the industry or vertical you work in.

One of the principal goals of your connections is to reflect, communicate, and demonstrate your status within your profession. The better connected you are within the sphere you wish to be perceived in as an accomplished professional, the better you’ll be able to provide objective evidence to that position.

This isn’t the time or place to hook up with Aunt Gertrud or your sister in law. That’s what Facebook is for.

As for visibility, unless you work for the CIA, make sure you have your settings set under the “Select who can see your connections” tab to “Your connections” instead of “Only you”. This will allow your connections to actually see your other connections. If you follow the advice as above, then those other connections will provide a halo effect to who you are and what you represent.

Lastly, remember to be judicious about who and how many people you connect with on LinkedIn because almost every other feature and function that LinkedIn offers to help you, the hunter with, as in finding more and better prospects, depends on this single one most important area, your LinkedIn connections

Next Blog, LinkedIn’s “People You May Know” section, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Like to know more or have a question? Just ask.

David A. Gordon
First Approach Inc.
The Pursuit of Relationship Capital®
416 961 2666

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