It all started with a vision. A vision to inspire and enable Millennials to become the best that they could be by creating a community of Millennials who share a passion for B2B sales and leadership and connecting them with elite mentors.
In order to make this vision a reality, it was clear that it was too grand to accomplish alone. By definition, a community is a group of people and so I needed to start reaching out and connecting with others who could share that vision and passion.
I have spent hours, emailing, texting, LinkedIn-ing, and talking on the phone with people from all over the world who have heard Help Me Close’s call. I have learned more than I could have thought possible in a short period time and am filled with gratitude to everyone who has liked, shared, followed, subscribed and interacted with me in any way.
In one of these recent conversations, a fellow Closer messaged me via LinkedIn to ask me a question. They were curious about my methods of moving conversations from social media, to having them over the phone. Specifically, they were having trouble getting connections to respond to their messages. This lead to the opportunity to connect with them over the phone and having a powerful conversation where I was able to share some of my tips that have helped me create meaningful business relationships that have exponentially increased the power of my network.
- The most important thing is being transparent and genuine. Before each connection, ask yourself, “why am I connecting with this person?” Try to engage and have a conversation with every single connection that is made on LinkedIn. In order to this, it takes effort but will strengthen your network greatly. Remember, these are people, not profiles. With every connection request I send and receive, I send a direct message. Even if the request that I receive isn’t personalized, I will take it upon me to personalize a response. Why? I like to give the requestor the benefit of the doubt and assume that they are using the mobile version and don’t know how to send a personalized message (which you can FYI). By taking the time to connect with people, beyond their profiles, I have had countless valuable conversations and have learned a tremendous deal about my connections and why they want to connect with me. I then use this knowledge to create content that my audience will enjoy.
- Research – Before sending a connection request to a new person (remember they are people, not profiles) do some homework. Look at their recent LinkedIn activity. By looking at their activity you can see how active they are at using LinkedIn. If they aren’t active, they probably won’t see your connection request. Also, if they are active you can see what their interests are through reading their posts, articles, and any other content they are commenting on or liking. If the person has been on podcasts or written a book try to read or listen to their content to better understand them. This will give you several talking points to connect.
- Engage before you connect – Before sending a connection request it can increase your odds that they will accept if you first interact with their content. Don’t become a cyber stalker, but “like” their post or comment. Share their post, or reply to one of their comments. This will get your name and face on their radar so you when you send a connect request you’re not a complete stranger.
- Send them a personal message on LinkedIn. (You can do this from the mobile app too!) When sending personal messages, try to keep it simple and say something like… “Mr./Mrs. X, I really liked your (comment/post/podcast) and would be grateful to have you be a part of my personal network so that I may continue learning from you.” Who would say no to that? The key here is being genuine. I really do want to learn from my connections and am grateful for each one.
- Show Gratitude – After someone accepts your connection request send them a message saying “thank you.” Even if they don’t respond to your personalized message because 9 times out of 10 they don’t respond. It’s not them being rude, it’s LinkedIn not being completely user-friendly. By sending this follow-up message it will often bring their attention to your first message and will open the door for conversation. (I will share some pointers about what to say in part 2)
- Check Their Contact Information – Do they have a phone number listed? If you visit their profile and check their “contact info” you can see if they have their phone number listed. I have done this a few times and I LOVE IT! After someone accepts your connection request, even if they don’t respond to your direct message, give them a call. If they have their phone number listed its fair game, CALL IT! And this is why…
- They wouldn’t put their phone number if they didn’t want people to call them.
- They have already accepted your connection request and wouldn’t have if they didn’t want to connect.
- If they are someone worth connecting with, the fact that you are taking initiative and calling them will impress them more than annoy them.
- If they don’t answer, leave a voicemail. “Hi this is X, I wanted to say thank you for connecting with me on LinkedIn and look forward to building our professional relationship. Thank you” (I’m sure you can think of something better, but the point is it doesn’t have to be complicated or scary)
- Do they have their personal email? In the same spot as the phone number people will often have their email listed. This is another great way to reach someone, especially if their phone number isn’t listed and they don’t check LinkedIn frequently.
- If they don’t respond don’t take it personally. Sometimes relationships take time and many people don’t have time to fit a complete stranger into their schedule spontaneously. While researching the individual gauge their personality. This will inform you on how persistent you should be at contacting them. For example, Tony Hughes is emphatic about sales people picking up the phone and calling. If I wanted to connect with him I would have no problem calling him every single day until he answered. Why? Because that’s what he preaches.
Tip: A great tool for researching people’s social profiles is the 360Social Extension for Google Chrome
Creating the connection is only half the battle. The second part is all about taking a connection made on social, offline.Unless you already called and spoke to them on the phone. Also, how to make the connection and conversations meaningful.
For that, I have part 2 which will be released in a few days. To be notified of the release be sure to subscribe and follow Help Me Close on LinkedIn and Twitter @helpmecloseblog