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Are you on LinkedIn? Chances are you are. Now, the second part of that is, are you using it effectively? And my guess to the answer to that question is no. Why is that? Well, most people have an account but rarely log in. Why is that? Because they don’t know what to do with it. It’s a great way to connect with people, but it’s not like Facebook. It’s not a fun social media network, although some people try to make it that way. But it’s really about business to business.

Here’s another reason why people don’t use it. They’re afraid of it. Why are they afraid of it? Because when they log in, people are stalking them. Some people are out there talking about a strategy, “To get more business on LinkedIn, close more $15,000 deals.” Do you know what that strategy is? Connect and pitch. You know how it goes, right? Somebody sent you a connection request, and you don’t know them, but they connect. You connect with them, they connect with you, and 30 seconds later you get this message in your inbox.

Connect & Pitch

Here’s an example. This is something that happened to me the other day. So I connect up with this guy, and he sends me a message immediately. It says, “I’m looking to interview qualified candidates for leadership roles within our business. Are you or somebody you may know looking and keeping their career options open for either part-time or full-time work? All the best.” So I said to myself, “Oh, dude.” So then I message him back and I say, “I teach people how to prospect correctly on LinkedIn. Are you or someone you may know keeping your prospect options open to learn the latest networking and closing techniques? Please let me know.” He sends me a message back, and he says, “Honestly, dude, I can’t tell if you’re trying to mock me or offer me something.” And I said, “It’s a little of both.”

So you’ve seen that, right? People connect up and immediately send you their pitch. Like all of sudden you’re just going to open up your wallet and hand them money or change careers and do all that because they sent you a message. No, I don’t think so. So how do you use LinkedIn effectively? Well, the simplest way to do it is understanding what your purpose is on there. Now, I look at all social media as a relationship-building tool first. So that means you gotta give it a slow roll. You wouldn’t walk into a bar and tap somebody on the shoulder and say, “Hey, you’re cute. You want to get married?” But unfortunately, that’s the way that people do it on LinkedIn because they don’t know how to do anything else. They don’t know how to start, maintain, and build a relationship.

LinkedIn Cha… Cha… Changes!

So that’s what’s you have to do. First thing you want to do is identify people that you want to connect with. So first you have to identify who they are, and then do a little research and find them. Now, one of the challenges that you have to be aware of is since maybe last week, LinkedIn has stopped the ability for people to connect up with their second and third level connections. First level: I know you. You know me. We’re connected. Second level is somebody that I don’t know. Third level is I don’t know them at all, and nobody in my network knows them. So those are your first, second, and third level connections.

In LinkedIn, you can no longer send a message to somebody you’re not connected with without paying for their premium service. Why? Because LinkedIn is owned by Microsoft, and Microsoft wants to make money. It’s kind of the same thing that Facebook did when they got everybody addicted to business page crack. Get as many fans as you possibly can. Then they turned the faucet off and said, “Hey, now if you want to talk to those people, you have to do it in the form of ads.” And that’s essentially what LinkedIn is doing is they’re monetizing it as best they possibly can.

Have a Strategy

So let’s talk about a strategy that’s going to help you better utilize your relationships. So the first one knows that niche. Who is it that you want to talk to? You also have to know their needs and wants. You have to know what are their problems, and what problem do you solve for them. Or can you be a good resource and find somebody to help them?

Next thing you have to do is connect up. So one of the best ways to do it is do a little research and maybe send them an email first. If you can find their email, just send an email, say, “Hey, I saw you on LinkedIn. I wanted to connect up. I sent you a request.” In other words, you’re connecting with them on LinkedIn, but you’re sending them an email saying, “I’m a legit person. Not going to sell you anything. Just want to make a connection.” That may be the way to do it.

Get Out Of Your Chair

Another way to do it is go out and network, get business cards, and use those business cards to send people an email. Once they get your email, they’re already warm to you. Chances are they’ll respond back. And when they see your LinkedIn request, they’ll connect because they know you’re not there just to connect and pitch.

So once you’ve had an opportunity to say, “Hey, we’re connected now,” just go in and give them a very generic message. “Thanks for the connection. Let me know if there’s anything I can ever do to help you. And if you want to know anybody in my network, let me know. I’ll be happy to do an introduction.” So again, don’t go in selling anything. Go in with a helpful attitude, and then let it sit for a while. And then maybe connect up again later on. I’ve seen people do this really, really well. But then the last thing they do is come in with that pitch.

Edutain Your Way To A Call or Email

So instead of doing that, think about this. Figure out what their need is, and then ask their permission. “Can I send you a couple of emails?” In those emails, it should have some explanation about what it is that you do or maybe a way you can solve a problem for it.

Now, I’ve got a perfect opportunity to do that because if somebody wants to learn about LinkedIn, I’ve got a bunch of podcasts on it and a bunch of blog posts. So I could say, “Hey, let me send you a couple of emails.” I’m just going to say, “Hey, here’s a quick little note about a podcast that I did on how you can use LinkedIn to network better. Take a look. Take a listen,” whatever it is. So by doing that, you start to build up the relationship over time. You’re giving them good information. You’re giving them something of value.

Then after a while, you can send them a message and say, “Hey, I don’t know if it works for you, maybe it will, but how’d you like to get on the phone for 15 minutes and just chat?” No sales pitch, no nothing. Let’s just chat. Let me find out about you, find out about me. Maybe you want to meet for coffee, whatever it is. But if you spent time building up that relationship, the chances of them saying yes is going to be a lot hotter. Spending the time to develop the relationship by giving people value is the best way for you to make those connections. So think about doing that once a day. Find one person, start the process, and continue the process down the road. Build that relationship, especially if they could be somebody who’s a good fit for you and your business or maybe somebody you could connect them to.

When you go into LinkedIn with a purpose like that, you’ll see results, and it’s going to be worth your time. You don’t have to spend a lot of it, but your time is valuable. Make the most of it on there.

Final Thoughts

Let me leave you with some final thoughts. Number one, take the time to build the relationship. Just don’t go tap them on the shoulder and say, “Marry me.” Second, create targeted content that answers their needs and their questions without a sales pitch. Just educate them or entertain them. And finally, get to the point where you can generate that sales phone call.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Comment below and share your thoughts, ideas or questions about showing the concepts presented. Have you had to overcome any of the presented concepts? What worked and what did not live up to expectations? Do you have any ideas or advice you could share?

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