Most of us have hear that having a lot of LinkedIn Connections is important to any successful solopreneur enterprise. And these days, almost everyone has a Linkedin Profile. However, few know how to use it properly.
A simple way of following up with someone when you have met for the first time is to agree to connect on Linkedin. Actually following up and making the connection request is a simple demonstration of doing something you agreed to do. This is an important step in building a trusted relationship. You can also follow or friend on other platforms where appropriate.
While this is a great first step, unfortunately, this is where many of us stop. Yes, it’s great to have 1500 connections on LinkedIn, but honestly, how many of them have you ever had a conversation with? Is LinkedIn like your kitchen junk drawer where you save connections like allen wrenches or AAA batteries on the chance that you may need them again one day.
Of course having more connections is better than less, but you have to remember that your network is a living breathing ecosystem, not some list of names that you can pull out only when you need a job or a sale. It’s time to clean out your connection junk drawer and put those contacts to use.
Three step process
- Set up a call immediately – As soon as you add a new connection in LinkedIn you should schedule a call with them. Why take the time to add them to your network if you never plan to talk to them, and there is no time like the present when meeting you is fresh on their mind. Even if the connection was made virtually, follow up with a meeting invite. If the person is not willing to even commit to a conversation with you, they are probably not going to make a good connection anyway. Use a scheduling app like calendly or acuity to make lining up calendars easier.
- Have an agenda for the call – While this first call is not the time to sell your products or services, you also don’t want the call to go the distance without finding out if this person is a good fit for your network.
- Set your intentions at the beginning of the call. The person is probably expecting to be sold to and already has their guard up. Let them know the purpose of this call is not to sell them anything, but simply to get to know a little bit more about their business and for them to find out more about yours and see if there may be a good fit for future networking purposes.
- Ask questions that let you see if building a relationship with this person will be beneficial to both of your businesses.
- Sign off with next steps. If an in-person meeting or a future call makes sense then set up that future meeting. If you can offer some value to them like a mutual connection or some information make sure you do that quickly after the call ends.
- Agreeing on the next step ensures that the relationship is ongoing and part of a series of interactions over time that will benefit both parties. So if, after the initial conversation, you believe this person could be a good connection for you, make sure you keep in touch on a regular basis. To be more efficient, add them to a CRM like Cloze or or Zoho.