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5 Effective Ways To Connect Successfully With Strangers on LinkedIn

5 Effective Ways To Connect Successfully With Strangers on LinkedIn

There is an old saying, “If you want to catch fish, fish where the fish are.”

In the world of professional networking, the “fishes” could be found on LinkedIn.

According to Statista, LinkedIn has 396 million users as of Q3 of 2015.

Now THAT is a huge fishing pond.

But also because of that, LinkedIn is becoming saturated with template InMails and Nigerian scams.

I lost count of the number of times I was told to inherit a billion dollar from some government officials in a third world country– and not forgetting the messages from connections, notifications from groups and random invitations from strangers.

Getting their attention to you

Despite all that, LinkedIn remains a powerful source of people you could benefit from. You might be looking for mentors, business leads or simply to conduct a reference check – it is the place to go to.

The key is to stand out from all the noise that is buzzing in the background and be the musical melody that draws their attention.

Here’s how:

1.Sending invites to their corporate email

I used to send out hundreds of invites per day because I realized many wouldn’t reply and accept my invitation. Needless to say, I was just spraying and praying.

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So if my target is to add 10 connections per day, I would send out at least 100 invitations because the acceptance rate borders around 10%.

It was a stupid approach. Even though you could get that 10%, you are annoying 90% of the people you are contacting and some of them have no qualms marking you as spam.

I had my LinkedIn account suspended 3 times because of that. I don’t think they will let me off so easily if I were to do it again.

So I looked at the whole process flow and realized why the acceptance rate is so low.

Most users would register their personal email addresses with LinkedIn. They might put in their corporate email address, but chances are these would be listed as secondary emails.

Which mean they won’t receive alerts via those inbox.

Instead, they would get them in their Gmail.

How many of us actually check our Gmail on a regular basis?

I have a friend who has about 20,000 unread emails in his. If you were to send him an invitation, he should get back to you by the year 2020.

A better way to reach out to your target is via their corporate email address instead. And this is where Email Hunter will come in useful.

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Email Hunter gives you direct access to all the web’s email addresses. With their Chrome extension installed, you could see a new Email Hunter button at every profile page.

A click on that shows you the potential corporate email address of the profile.

With that information, you would send a connection invite as you normally would. But instead, select the Others option. That allow you to key in an email address.

Put in the corporate email address you found and your invite would go straight to your target corporate inbox which I believe they would be checking every other minute.

2. Sending direct messages via Groups

Another way of connecting with your target is simply to bypass the connection process altogether.

You could do so by monitoring closely the groups that your target is in.

Get into those groups as a member.

Once you are approved, you would have access to the entire members directory.

Find your target within the director and you would see a Send Message option made available.

This would allow you to send a direct message to your target without waiting for them to accept your connection invite.

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3. Ego-bait InMail

Despite all that you have done, your target might be inundated with similar invitations and messages.

Your message has to stand out from the rest and the best way to do so is via an ego-bait.

An ego-bait InMail would carry a significant amount of praise and awe of your target, with strong reference to their current success that you identified on LinkedIn.

A typical message would look like:

Hi Peter

I was doing research for CFO on LinkedIN and I stumbled on your profile. I am so amazed by your career trajectory and how you’ve managed to achieve so much over your career!

I am currently working as a Financial Controller and is looking to better equip myself with the skill sets required to prepare myself for CFO opportunities.

I hope I could learn from you a tip or two. Coffee’s on me. :)

4. Using referral system

If all that isn’t working for you, you need a connector to act as your bridge.

You might be targeting someone with major trust issues. These are people who are very cautious about adding new people to their circle, even if the circle is virtual.

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LinkedIn has a referral request function that allow you to send a dedicated message to a profile you are connected with and have them forward your connection request to your target.

Importantly you want to explain why you want your 1st-degree connection to forward your request to their connection.

Make sure you write from the target’s benefit in connecting with you. So instead of telling your 1st-degree connection it is because you wish to “sell the target your product”, you want to phrase it as “the target could solve their procurement bottleneck with your solution.”

End it off with another brief paragraph about your background and how it would be relevant to your target.

5. Creating a group for your target

The final resort is to start your own LinkedIn group.

Assuming you are targeting HR Directors. What you want to do is to start a group catering to HR Directors which allow them to join and share their domain expertise.

Give it a prestigious name like HR Thought Leaders in Singapore.

Now your target won’t find out and gravitate to the group automatically. Your best bet is to hustle at a few influencers in the HR space and convince them to join the group.

They will act as your magnet to draw the rest of the crowd in.

The best part about this strategy is you are the group owner. As the owner, you could send a message to ALL members at the same time instead of individually, as we covered under point 2.

Featured photo credit: Businessmen shaking hands/reynermedia via flic.kr

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Adrian Tan

Ops Director at Ingeus Singapore

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Published on September 23, 2020

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

6 Effective Negotiation Skills to Master

I don’t know about you, but many times when I hear the word negotiate I think of lawyers working out a business deal or having to do battle with a car salesman to try to get a lower price. Since I am in recruiting, the term “negotiation” comes up when someone is attempting to get a higher compensation package.

If we think about it, we tend to negotiate almost every day in a wide variety of things we do. Getting a handle on the important negotiation skills can be incredibly beneficial in many parts of our lives. Let’s take a look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

What is Negotiation?

First, let’s take a look at what negotiation is. Put simply, negotiation is a method by which people settle their differences. It is a process in which compromise or agreement can be reached without argument or dispute.

Anytime two people or sides disagree on something, they are almost always looking for the best possible outcome for their side. This could be from an individual’s perspective or someone representing an organization.

In reality, it’s rare that one side gets everything they want and the other side gets nothing that they are seeking. Seeking to reach a common ground of sorts where both sides feel like they are getting most of what they want is the key to being successful and maintaining the relationship.

Places We Negotiate

I’ve mentioned that we negotiate in just about all phases of our life. For those of you who are shaking your head no, I invite you to think about the following:

1. Work/Business

This one is the most obvious and it’s what naturally comes to mind when we think of the word “negotiate”.

When you first started at your current job, you might have asked for a higher salary. It could be that you delivered a huge new client to your company and used this as leverage in your most recent evaluation for more compensation. If you work with vendors (and just about every company does), maybe you worked them to a lower price or better contract terms.

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In recruiting, I negotiate with candidates and hiring managers all the time to land the best talent I can find. It’s very common to accept additional work with the (sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken) agreement that it will benefit your career in the future.

Recently, I took over a project that was my boss was working on so that I would be able to attend a conference later in the year. And so it goes, we do this all day long at work.

2. Personal

I don’t know about you, but I negotiate with my spouse all the time. I’ll cook dinner with the understanding that she does the dishes. Who wants to mow the lawn and who wants to vacuum and dust the house?

I think we should save 10% for retirement, but she thinks 5% is plenty. Therefore, we save 8%. And don’t even get me started with my kids. My older daughter can borrow my car as soon as she finishes her chores. My younger daughter can go hang out with her friends when her homework is done.

Then, there are all those interactions in our personal lives outside our homes. The carpenter wants to charge me $12,000 to build a new deck. I think $10,000 is plenty so we agree on $11,000. I ask my neighbor if I can borrow his snowblower in the winter if I invite him over the next time I grill steak. And so on.

3. Ourselves

You didn’t expect this one, did you? We negotiate with ourselves all day long.

I’ll make sure I don’t skip my workout tomorrow since I’m going to have that extra piece of pizza. My spouse has been quiet the last few days, is it worth me asking her about, or should I leave it alone? I think the car place charged me for some repairs that weren’t needed, should I say something or just let it go? I know my friend has been having some personal challenges, should I check in with him? We’ve been friends for a long time, I’m sure he’d come to me if he needed help. I’ve got the #4 pick in this year’s Fantasy Football draft, should I choose a running back or a wide receiver?

Think about that non-stop voice inside your head. It always seems to be chattering away about something and many times, it’s us negotiating with ourselves. I’ll finish up that report that the boss needs before I turn on the football game.

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Why Negotiation Skills Are So Important

Put simply, negotiation skills are important because we all interact with other people, and not only other people but other organizations and groups of people as well.

We all rarely want the same thing or outcome. Most of the time a vendor is looking at getting you to pay a higher price for something than you want to spend. Therefore, it’s important to negotiate to some middle ground that works well for both sides.

My wife and I disagree on how much to save for retirement. If we weren’t married it wouldn’t be an issue. We’d each contribute how much we wanted to on our retirement funds. We choose to be married, so we have to come to some agreement that we both feel comfortable with. We have to compromise. Therefore, we have to negotiate.

If we each lived on a planet by ourselves, we would be free to do just about anything we wanted to. We wouldn’t have to compromise with anyone because we wouldn’t interact with anyone. We would make every choice unilaterally the way we wanted to.

As we all know, this isn’t how things are. We are constantly interacting with other people and organizations, each one with their own agenda’s, viewpoints, and opinions. Therefore, we have to be able to work together.

6 Negotiation Skills to Master

Having strong negotiation skills helps us create win-win situations with others, allowing us to get most of what we want in conjunction with others around us.

Now, let’s look at 6 effective negotiation skills to master.

1. Preparation

Preparation is a key place to start with when getting ready to negotiate. Being prepared means having a clear vision of what you want and how you’d go about achieving it. It means knowing what the end goal looks like and also what you are willing to give to get it.

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It also means knowing who you are negotiating with and what areas they might be willing to compromise on. You should also know what your “bottom line” is. By “bottom line” I mean what is the most you are willing to give up to get what you want.

For instance, several years ago, I decided it was time to get a newer car. I say newer because I wanted a “new to me” car, not a brand new car. I did my research and figured out what type of car I wanted. I decided on what must-have items on the car I wanted, the highest amount of miles that would already be on it, the colors I was willing to get it in, and the highest amount of money I was willing to pay.

After visiting numerous car dealerships I was able to negotiate buying a car. I knew what I was willing to give up (amount of money) and what I was willing to accept, things like the color, amount of miles, etc. I came prepared. This is critical.

2. Clear Communication

The next key skill you need to be an effective negotiator is clear communication. You have to be able to clearly articulate what you want to the other party. This means both clear verbal and written communication.

If you can’t clearly tell the other person what you want, how do you expect to get it? Have you ever worked through something with a vendor or someone else only to learn of a surprise right at the end that wasn’t talked about before? This is not what you would call clear communication. It’s essential to be able to share a coherent and logical vision with the person you are working with.

3. Active Listening

Let’s do a quick review of active listening. This is when you are completely focused on the speaker, understand their message, comprehend the information, and respond appropriately. This is a necessary ingredient to be able to negotiate successfully. You must be able to fully focus on the other person’s wants to completely understand them.

If you aren’t giving them your full attention, you may miss some major points or details. This leads to frustration down the road on both sides. Ensure you are employing your active listening skills when in arbitration mode.

4. Teamwork and Collaboration

To be able to get to a place of common ground and a win-win scenario, you have to have a sense of teamwork and collaboration.

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If you are only thinking about yourself and what you want without giving much care to what the other person is wanting, you are bound to wind up without a solution. The other person may get frustrated and give up if they see you are unwilling to meet them halfway or care little for what they want.

When you collaborate, you are working together to help each other get what is most important to you. The other upside to negotiating with a sense of teamwork and collaboration is that it helps create a sense of trust, which, in turn, helps provide positive energy for working to a successful conclusion.

5. Problem Solving

Problem-solving is another key negotiation skill. When you are working with the other person to get the deal done many times you’ll face new challenges along the way.

Maybe you want a new vendor to provide training on the software they are selling you but they say it’s going to cost an additional $20,000 to provide this service. If you don’t have the additional $20,000 in the budget to spend on the software but you feel the training is critical, how are you going to solve that problem?

From what I’ve seen, most vendors aren’t willing to provide additional services without getting paid for them. This is where problem-solving skills will help continue the discussions. You might suggest to the vendor that your company will also be looking to replace their financial software next year, and you’d be happy to ensure they get one of the first seats at the table when the time comes if they could perhaps lower the pricing on their training.

There’s a solution to most challenges, but it takes problem-solving skills to work through them effectively.

6. Decision-Making Ability

Finally, having strong decision-making ability will help you seal the deal when you get to a place where everyone feels like they are getting what works for them. Each step of the way you can cross off the list when you get what you are looking for and decide to move onto the next item. Then, once you have all of your must-have boxes checked and the other side feels good about things, it’s time to shake hands and sign on the dotted line. Powerful decision-making ability will help you get to the finish line together.

Conclusion

There you have it, 6 effective negotiation skills to master to lead a more fulfilling life. Once we realize that we negotiate in one form or another almost every day in every phase of our lives, we realize how critical a skill it is.

Possessing strong negotiation skills will help you in nearly every one of your relationships at both the workplace and in your personal life. If you feel your arbitration tools could use some sharpening, try some of the 6 effective negotiation skills to master that we’ve talked about.

More Tips to Improve Your Negotiation Skills

Featured photo credit: Windows via unsplash.com

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