For years, I have been a big promoter and supporter of LinkedIn for a variety of reasons. A few weeks ago, I added yet another reason to my list. Entrepreneurs, consultants and salespeople, please take special note of this story.
As a matter of practice, I try to reach out to current and new LinkedIn connections at least twice a week. Some might find this tedious, but I quite enjoy networking with new people and re-connecting with former colleagues and acquaintances. Recently a gentleman whom I knew from a previous workplace popped up in the “People You May Know” area of my homepage. While he and I didn’t work closely together, we enjoyed a cordial professional working relationship. Based on that fond recollection, I sent him an invitation to connect.
He’s now a client.
I am neither glorifying nor simplifying the story: that’s what happened. You can make this happen for your small business or sales prospect list as well. Here’s how I did it:
-Monitor the “People You May Know” area of your LinkedIn homepage regularly: at least once a week.
-Send a personalized invitation to connect on LinkedIn. You are far more likely to gain a reply when you personalize your response. I cringe each time I receive a plain “I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.” A little effort to customize your message and to show that you care can yield really positive results.
-I reached out to this gentleman to let him know that I had left my last position to launch OpenMindWorks. I told him that I’d like to stay in touch and inquired how his business (he’s also an entrepreneur) was going because I was genuinely interested: not prospecting a client. That thought honestly never entered my mind. He was obviously intrigued enough to check out my profile – and my website. This is another gentle reminder to those of you who need to update your profiles!
-He then asked me for a bid on marketing services for his company and I was fortunate to be awarded the business.
It really was that simple and no, it won’t happen with each connection that you make. Why not give it a try?