During the lock-down due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Steve Nunn, owner of Nunn Better Consulting, has been forced to change the way he does networking. With a mission statement that includes helping companies integrate their acquired businesses, not being able to form face-to-face business relationships at SACC and other meetings, presents a huge challenge. By dedicating two to three hours per day to using LinkedIn, he has managed to grow his network of contacts and he is offering some useful tips for creating a valuable network.
Almost anybody can create a large network in LinkedIn; the trick, he emphasizes, is to make it valuable. Therefore, merely adding people to your list will not lead to more sales or more work. A “quality” network is one in which most of your contacts are potential clients; people who may buy your products or hire you. Steve believes that LinkedIn is the best tool for finding specific expertise outside your locale, or experts that can provide a very specific service.
The keys to optimizing the size and quality of your network on LinkedIn are to gradually increase the number of people that you invite to your network daily, and to carefully select them. Your invitations should engage them with a clear and relevant message that reflects who you are. Once they respond to your invite, take the time to thank them for joining your network and establish a channel of communication. For creating business income, LinkedIn is a numbers’ game: you contact many people hoping that a small percentage become sales, and the higher the quality of your network, the better your odds will be.
Subscribing to LinkedIn Sales Navigator for $80/month is a sound investment. It helps to filter a precise list of people you want in your network. You can find the right level decision-maker, in the correct industry and specific location. This feature gives you unlimited searches so you can get to exactly the type of person who needs your services or products. If you send too many invitations through their general suggestion list, LinkedIn may bar you from searching for days or perhaps weeks (thinking you are a bot).
Once you start finding the people who meet the criteria you need, commit to a manageable number of invitations that you can send, follow up on and track. Thirty invitations are a good initial goal. Inviting more people than you can actively engage will defeat the purpose. After a couple of weeks you may increase to 50 per day and after a month to 75 per day. You will know when you have reached the maximum number you can handle per day.
Your invitation message to prospective contacts will become more succinct once you have added a few. In a month you will get to the point where you can create a document with a few industry-specific messages that you can copy and paste. Likewise, you can prepare ahead of time a few messages to respond to their invitation acceptance, and others to invite them to like your webpage, read your blog or have phone, video or even face-to-face meetings.
It is important that you engage with your new contacts through LinkedIn messaging and that you respond to people who message you. It is quite typical that people accept your invitation and then fail to communicate. Focus upon the new contacts that message you. Ask them a relevant question that demonstrates you are an expert in your field. Do not try to sell or promote yourself until the second or third message. Not only is this communication required for forming a trusting relationship, but LinkedIn seems to notice the personal attention (not a bot) and allows you to send out a larger amount of invites. Often times the invitees will look at your current connections to assess if they also want to join your network.
As you use LinkedIn to filter, select and reach a larger number of prospective customers, the wealth of information that you connect to can now populate your CRM contact list. Although copying and pasting the information can be laborious, the process will allow you to email and phone your contacts directly. It’s wise to assign tags to the contacts so you can filter inside your own database later. A couple of sentences about the contact’s specialty and notes about the person will be great memory joggers. Perhaps this process can be delegated to administrative staff that you can trust to log into your personal LinkedIn account.
In addition, if a contact uses their personal email address in LinkedIn (as opposed to a business email address) research online to find their business email address. If you cannot find it, you must decide if you want to email someone’s personal email address with business topics. As a rule of thumb personal addresses should not be used for marketing.
The database that is now populated in your CRM can be connected to an email marketing system of your choice e.g. MailChimp, Constant Contact, HubSpot etc. so your contacts can receive a monthly newsletter. At Nunn Better Consulting we try not to overwhelm our contacts with communication. The idea is to remain in mind, without becoming a nuisance.
Over time, the quality of your contact network will improve. Your idea of who can benefit from your product will be clearer and you will be finding them and communicating with them through your network. LinkedIn gathers the people and provides the tools, but you have to use that information to sell services and products.
SACC-SFL would like to thank Steve Nunn at Nunn Better Consulting for sharing this valuable information. Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at +1 305 497 7754 if you would like to share your story.