13 Aug 2017

Dammit! Learn How to Use LinkedIn to Network!

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Focus On LinkedInDammit. After confirming a new connection on LinkedIn, I received yet another canned message from the person. Or rather, from his robotic software.

His message went on for a dozen paragraphs, telling me about his service in detail, along with background information, an offer for a free book to join his mailing list, plus 4 sales pitches for products. I stopped reading at that point and removed the connection.

Let me talk for a minute about the purpose of networking, and make no mistake about it, LinkedIn is used for networking. LinkedIn is NOT a sales tool (in spite of claims by many so-called experts). You can certainly use it to get sales, but you will be far more effective if you use it as a marketing and networking tool.

So what is networking?

The exchange of information or services among individuals, groups, or institutions; specifically: the cultivation of productive relationships for employment or business – Merriam-Webster

You use networking to establish and reinforce relationships with other people for the purpose of furthering your business, whatever that may be, and to help them with their business as well.

Sending out messages saying “buy my products and services”, offering download links to free books or explaining your own business is NOT networking. When you do this, you are being a typical salesperson.

When you immediately shove your business into someone’s face, they are likely to shut you down. They almost certainly won’t do business with you. Ever.

Why not?

Because they don’t know who you are, they have no reason to like you, and you haven’t made an attempt to gain their trust.

Do you want to succeed at networking on LinkedIn and elsewhere? Take the time to actually communicate with people. Find out who they are, what they do for fun and for a living, and talk to them as human beings instead of treating them like a credit card.

Sure, it’s a lot more work, but if you’re just throwing out messages that get ignored, you’re not accomplishing anything anyway. You’re just annoying people and making them less likely to have anything to do with you at all, much less purchase your products or services.

Got it? Learn to treat others like human beings and you will create a network which is actually useful. Continue to send out robotic, pushy messages trying desperately to get sales, and you’ll alienate people and your network will be weak and unresponsive.

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