I believe that the most powerful asset to my business over the years has been the network of people I have the pleasure and honor to serve. The fact that I can interview Richard Branson or that Tony Robbins calls me and asks me to make a video with him is pretty cool, but I also cherish and treasure that I’m connected with pastors, burger makers, and an 83-year-old motivational speaker. But the way that most people go about trying to “network” through platforms like LinkedIn makes me want to help you do better. For both of our sakes.
Why I Won’t Connect With You on LinkedIn
There are many ways to use LinkedIn. This is one.
I connect with two types of people on LinkedIn:
- People I know and whom I can vouch for their professional work.
- People I want to sell something to.
There are plenty of other people who want to connect with me. Let me list them out for you:
- People who have followed me for a while and are generally really nice – you, I like and appreciate. But unless I’m trying to get bags of your company’s money, you already know how to email me directly. The connection won’t yield much for you.
- People who “heard about me through some other person” – strange way to choose your business network, but maybe get to know me.
- People who saw me in some other LinkedIn algorithm and have NO reason to connect – why are you doing this?
- People trying to sell me something, but who don’t really want to nurture a relationship first, as evidenced by your “push your tongue down my throat” first message to me.
- People who are trying to sell me something I definitely don’t need, like real estate in Florida. (I’m a northerner.)
How to Get Way Better at LinkedIn
Probably the easiest way is to take a course like John Nemo’s course. That’s one of the ways I gto smarter.
The second easiest way is to think like this:
- What do I know how to do to help others? (For money and for friendship.)
- Who do I most need to reach to expand my success?
- What can I do for those people, whether or not they ever reciprocate?
- Who might I know that could benefit from knowing this person? (Do it this way.)
- Who might I know that would benefit this person if I made the introduction?
- Do the people I serve (you’d think of them as your audience or customers or both) benefit from knowing more about this person?
And walk all your business intentions forward from there.
A Quick Note About LinkedIn and Influence
QUITE often, someone wants to connect with me on LinkedIn because they view me as “an influencer.” I’m grateful in general that lots of people give me their time and attention. What’s less useful, however, is when people perceive that ANY influencer is who they need to reach for the product or service they sell.
If you sell data center space in Chennai, it’s not likely that *I* will need that service any time soon (“ever” comes to mind). Thus, don’t try to connect with my on LinkedIn because you feel that “maybe I know someone who needs this service” because I’ve worked with big companies. That’s like asking me if I know “Dave” from Nashville. (I do, by the way. Good guy.)
Be Helpful First
Above all else, seek to help others far before you intend to connect with them on LinkedIn. It’ll serve you so much better. Jumping into a connection there means a lot. It gives you access to someone’s network. It’ll probably go better for all involved if you make that connection after having given it some thought.
Quick confession: I tried it the other way. I said yes to every connection that came across my screen. It was terrible. Bad. Nothing good came of it.
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