Don’t Estimate the Power of a Connection

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?

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