Modern problems require modern solutions. If we’ve learned anything from the past year, many professionals, especially salespeople, are pondering how to increase their LinkedIn connections and whether they are doing everything they can to improve their profile.
The fact is, LinkedIn can help you attract new business prospects, keep you in front of existing clients and vendors, generate more introductions and referrals, receive invitations to speak at events or conferences, among other things.
But having a savvy LinkedIn network doesn’t just occur naturally. Despite LinkedIn’s best efforts to assist you in developing a smart network, you must still do your part to generate relevant and meaningful relationships.
Here are 4 tips on how to build your LinkedIn Network:
1. Treat LinkedIn as a Primary Channel to Gain Connection
Many salespeople today regard LinkedIn as a mere secondary tool for business growth and sales efforts. That is simply not a good idea.
You don’t want to wait to speak with someone on the phone or send them an email before connecting with them on LinkedIn. Instead, you must begin considering LinkedIn as a primary channel through which you want to make connections and build confidence before returning to the phone and email.
You’re effectively spreading your sphere of influence by engaging with folks on LinkedIn. When you connect with additional individuals on LinkedIn, particularly those with whom you’d like to conduct business in the future or with whom you already do business, you’re slowly but steadily influencing them by sharing your ideas, insights, and education.
The whole point of trying to expand your LinkedIn network is to share your ideas on a broader scale.
And that’s something that current salespeople have never had before. You can certainly achieve that level of scale via social media sites.
2. Set a Target for the Expansion of your LinkedIn Connections
In addition, modern salespeople should consider how many LinkedIn connections are reasonable and how many they should have.
According to LinkedIn data, the average salesperson still only keeps one to three contacts in a single account.
This needs to change.
The fact is, to make the most of an account, you’ll need an average of eight individuals or relationships because that’s the number of people who are currently actively contributing to a buying decision.
In today’s world, a purchase decision is made by an average of eight persons.
You don’t have to get them all right away. But set a goal and a deadline for yourself. For example, let’s assume you set a goal of connecting with or sending at least three connection requests on LinkedIn every day, and you give yourself one quarter, maybe two quarters, to achieve that objective.
More contacts or stakeholder connections in an account boost your prospects of renewals and expanding business because the more contacts you have, the more sales interactions you’ll get.
But you must go out there and find people in all of the major accounts, connect with them, and start having discussions with them carefully and with intention. Do that, and establish a goal of increasing your network size with critical people in accounts by at least three people every single day. If you do that, your renewals will appreciate you.
3. Customize your LinkedIn Connection Message
Now that we’ve demonstrated the need to build your network consistently, we must consider connecting with people on LinkedIn effectively. For example, how can you persuade them to approve your request for a connection?
Never send someone a blind connection request.
On LinkedIn, you may just click the connect icon and send a request to anyone. Unfortunately, most people who receive connection requests like that on the site will simply ignore you.
Sending customized messages is what you should do instead. There are two rules that you should follow when creating those messages.
- Give Them a Good Reason to Connect
Offer to learn from that individual. Don’t just say you’d want to connect with them for this or that reason and then proceed to your sales pitch. Instead, mention that you’re hoping to interact with industry thought leaders so you may learn more from them and expand your skillset. Find your own words—no need to be too fancy.
- Offer Them Value in Exchange
Second, keep your message humble. Offering to be a resource for them is a terrific way to do this. When you message someone, they’re giving up something like their privacy or inbox space by engaging with you. As a result, offer to be a resource for them in exchange. Let them know that you, too, have unique information and specific knowledge that they can tap into and that you’re willing to offer it.
Your chances of connecting with more individuals on LinkedIn will naturally increase as a result of these strategies. And whether you want to connect with CEOs, critical people who are managers or directors, or anyone in between, this is a great approach to expand your LinkedIn network.
4. Take Advantage of the “Executive Network Effect”
Finally, make it possible for salespeople in your company to connect with you and make your profile and network visible to them.
Allow your team to assess who in your network is worth meeting for them to utilize you and an introduction from you to go out and start a sales conversation.
This phenomenon is called the Executive Network Effect. Every organization that does it sees an immediate rise in sales opportunities, and they do it regularly as part of their strategy of identifying future opportunities and prioritizing them.
Interested in learning more tips on how to use LinkedIn for Social Selling? Read The Ultimate Guide to Social Selling now.
These simple steps will help you expand your network on LinkedIn. They do not only increase the likelihood that a contact will do business with you, but an expansive network will also allow other industry insiders to see your profile and consider you as a business connection.