Turning Social Connections into Business Possibilities: Using LinkedIn Networking to Drive Client Acquisition
Doing the Same Thing, Only Better
Advisors I talk to often shy away from Social Media because they feel they’re not technologically savvy enough, or that Social Media does too many new things. That fact is Social Media is no different from good, old-fashioned face-to-face networking; it’s simply more efficient at connecting people and focusing the conversation in the right demographic.
Old School Networking
Think about how you employed the traditional face-to-face networking when you were building your business. You’d attend the traditional business mixers, community and charity events and even hang out at the local watering hole—all in an effort to maximize the probability of striking up a conversation with someone, identifying common interests and contacts and leaving with a business card so that you could continue to build the relationship.
Solving a Basic Human Problem
We often think the internet enables you to do new things, but people just want to do the same things they’ve always done. (Ev Williams | Co-Founder, Twitter)
Social Media solves the problem of kick-starting a conversation by helping to identify shared interests, people, and goals, which can engender initial levels of trust and credibility; in turn, people are more inclined to go straight to the heart of the conversation. There’s no guarantee, of course, that those shared interests will turn into full-fledged relationships, but the likelihood of starting the conversation off on the right footing is greatly enhanced.
Applying the Same Skill Sets More Efficiently
Networking (whether old school or new school) is personal and, first and foremost, about the people. Be authentic, candid and sincere. Use humor. People want to know that you’re real. Only then will people be willing to listen and allow you to effectively build trust by connecting the dots and considering what perspective, advice or value you may have to offer.
How To Do It
Use your instincts. Go where your gut tells you to go to build your relationships then let technology enable you to do so more simply and effectively. Here’s an idea to get you started:
Social Connections to Business Possibilities: If your firm permits you to do so, use LinkedIn’s InMail feature to reach out to your current LinkedIn network by introducing the phrase, “I thought I might reach out to you in a more professional capacity…” into your conversations.
Introducing the professional side of what you do gives you an opportunity to bridge the gap from your social relationships to potential business relationships. While many of your social connections may know your firm or title, they may have no idea what you do day by day and what potential value you may bring to the conversation.
If you don’t go for the hard sell but introduce what you do and offer assistance, you leave the door open for additional inquiry and a continued dialogue—which is what networking (both old and new) is all about.