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Making Your LinkedIn Business Network Pay Dividends

Making Your LinkedIn Business Network Pay Dividends
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    Haven’t made a dime on LinkedIn? A lot of people on LinkedIn haven’t made a dime from it. Chances are you haven’t made anyone else money either. In expanding your network, the main point is to help you phone or meet someone who may be able to help you in whatever it is you are trying to do. The flip side is you need to help others meet their needs too. Until you think of helping others get what they want, you won’t likely get what you want.

    LinkedIn is just a tool, albeit a powerful one if you have a use for it and know how to make it work. If you are good at what you do, it amplifies it. If you suck, it amplifies that too. We’ll assume the former and give some pointers on how you can make it work more effectively for you. If you find yourself wondering how to better use, derive benefit or get value from this tool, the following suggestions might prove useful. Don’t forget the basic rule of being of service to others.

    Online is online. Compared to meeting someone in the real world, it is much easier to connect with someone online. The flip side is that it is much harder to develop a relationship. Always keep this in mind and prepare to put in a solid effort to turn what looks like a good connection into a relationship.

    The key is to then connect on the phone and in person if possible. One strategy is to email new contacts or call active LinkedIn members if you are in town for a conference or meeting.

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    But remember that sending an email is not going to be enough to get you business.

    Focus is key. There are hundreds of online networking sites and tools so you should focus on one and put in a solid effort to make it work.

    If you choose LinkedIn as the one, then develop a strategy around it. This does not mean that you should not use other online networking sites. If LinkedIn is your main one, as part of your strategy, you should have all your other profiles point to LinkedIn. Go to Web2List for a list of networking sites in case you want to see some others.

    As part of your strategy, have a public profile and include your LinkedIn profile on your signature footer and other communication documents you use (ie. fax, website, blog).

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    Focus on actively connecting with people you want to know through those you know and start building productive relationships.

    Share, share, share. The more information you share on your profile, the more searchable you become in the database and more chances you will be able to make a real connection with someone. There is a weird non-linear effect that kicks in. One you get past a certain threshold by putting enough good searchable content in your profile and get enough active connections going, the search engines start giving you a better ranking. The higher ranking increases interest in you and your traffic goes up so you add more to your profile and there is a snowballing effect that works to your benefit.

    Some specific tips:

    • You should also customize your public profile URL to be your actual name
    • Use LinkedIn’s new Answers feature to help others and gain exposure
    • Include your LinkedIn profile link on your blog, faxes, letterhead, business cards
    • Utilize all the links you are allowed to incorporate on your profile.

    Set a policy and process and get a life! You should establish a policy and think in terms of running processes to achieve whatever goals you have set for yourself while helping others achieve their goals.

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    Here are some policy suggestions:

    • Send only customized requests for connections,
    • Forward requests only if they are specific and contact the recipient in advance before forwarding any such requests,
    • Spend no more than 1 hour a day on LinkedIn,
    • Read people’s profiles before contacting them.

    Here is an example of a simple 2 step process based on the policy you have set:
    1. After you meet someone at an event, check your LinkedIn network to see if you know anyone in common or share a common interest,
    2. Send them useful information that is relevant to their business and request a meeting or ask for their permission to connect on LinkedIn.

    Get involved on forums, read books and interview people on how they benefited from LinkedIn. There are advantages to becoming involved with some of the behind the scenes activities. Join the MyLinkedInPowerForum on yahoo and interview people with more than 5 endorsements and 100 contacts. This is a place you should feel free to ask for help.

    Get Endorsements for your profile. You should think of getting at least 10 endorsements on your profile. These third party endorsements will carry weight, especially if the person checking your profile holds the person giving the endorsement in high esteem.

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    Create a list of ways you can use LinkedIn to your advantage. Most people focus on selling and miss out on a many great benefits that include:

    • contacting or identifying media,
    • proactively helping others in your network,
    • researching competitors by contacting former employees (by a company search),
    • reconnecting with past colleges,
    • gaining competitive insights into the company by interviewing past and current employees,
    • learning a company’s buying habits and policies by interviewing current or former staff.

    You won’t make money from LinkedIn without being clear on how to use this highly effective networking tool. Turning connections made online into productive relationships is something you need to know how to do effectively and work at. LinkedIn provides a great shortcut to make initial connections with people who can help you, but you need to do extra work to make the connection something more than an email exchange. And don’t forget that givers gain.

    Tatsuya Nakagawa is president and CEO of Atomica Creative Group Ltd., a strategic product marketing company based in Vancouver Canada. He is a big fan of LinkedIn, yet uses it no more than an hour a day. He has thousands of connections, plenty of endorsements, maintains his profile diligently and gets great mileage. Peter Paul Roosen has an engineering background and founded numerous companies including firms involved in locomotive and plastics manufacturing, computer software and marketing. He is another kind of LinkedIn user, more of a leech. He uses it occasionally, hasn’t filled in his profile after two years on it, prefers to approach rather than be approached and believes he is not alone in this.

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    Last Updated on November 19, 2020

    The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

    The Gentle Art of Saying No for a Less Stressful Life

    It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments—you simply spread yourself too thin and will not be able to get anything done, at least not well or on time. That’s why the art of saying no can be a game changer for productivity.

    Requests for your time are coming in all the time—from family members, friends, children, coworkers, etc. To stay productive, minimize stress, and avoid wasting time, you have to learn the gentle art of saying no—an art that many people have problems with.

    What’s so hard about saying no? Well, to start with, it can hurt, anger, or disappoint the person you’re saying “no” to, and that’s not usually a fun task. Second, if you hope to work with that person in the future, you’ll want to continue to have a good relationship with that person, and saying “no” in the wrong way can jeopardize that.

    However, it doesn’t have to be difficult or hard on your relationship. Here’s how to stop people pleasing and master the gentle art of saying no.

    1. Value Your Time

    Know your commitments and how valuable your precious time is. Then, when someone asks you to dedicate some of your time to a new commitment, you’ll know that you simply cannot do it.

    Be honest when you tell them that: “I just can’t right now. My plate is overloaded as it is.” They’ll sympathize as they likely have a lot going on as well, and they’ll respect your openness, honesty, and attention to self-care.

    2. Know Your Priorities

    Even if you do have some extra time (which, for many of us, is rare), is this new commitment really the way you want to spend that time?

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    For example, if my wife asks me to pick up the kids from school a couple of extra days a week, I’ll likely try to make time for it as my family is my highest priority. However, if a coworker asks for help on some extra projects, I know that will mean less time with my wife and kids, so I will be more likely to say no. 

    However, for others, work is their priority, and helping on extra projects could mean the chance for a promotion or raise. It’s all about knowing your long-term goals and what you’ll need to say yes and no to in order to get there. 

    You can learn more about how to set your priorities here.

    3. Practice Saying No

    Practice makes perfect. Saying “no” as often as you can is a great way to get better at it and more comfortable with saying the word[1].

    Sometimes, repeating the word is the only way to get a message through to extremely persistent people. When they keep insisting, just keep saying no. Eventually, they’ll get the message.

    4. Don’t Apologize

    A common way to start out is “I’m sorry, but…” as people think that it sounds more polite. While politeness is important when you learn to say no, apologizing just makes it sound weaker. You need to be firm and unapologetic about guarding your time.

    When you say no, realize that you have nothing to feel bad about. You have every right to ensure you have time for the things that are important to you. 

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    5. Stop Being Nice

    Again, it’s important to be polite, but being nice by saying yes all the time only hurts you. When you make it easy for people to grab your time (or money), they will continue to do it. However, if you erect a wall or set boundaries, they will look for easier targets.

    Show them that your time is well guarded by being firm and turning down as many requests (that are not on your top priority list) as possible.

    6. Say No to Your Boss

    Sometimes we feel that we have to say yes to our boss—they’re our boss, right? And if we start saying no, then we look like we can’t handle the work—at least, that’s the common reasoning[2].

    In fact, it’s the opposite—explain to your boss that by taking on too many commitments, you are weakening your productivity and jeopardizing your existing commitments. If your boss insists that you take on the project, go over your project or task list and ask him/her to re-prioritize, explaining that there’s only so much you can take on at one time.

    7. Pre-Empting

    It’s often much easier to pre-empt requests than to say “no” to them after the request has been made. If you know that requests are likely to be made, perhaps in a meeting, just say to everyone as soon as you come into the meeting,

    “Look, everyone, just to let you know, my week is booked full with some urgent projects, and I won’t be able to take on any new requests.”

    This, of course, takes a great deal of awareness that you’ll likely only have after having worked in one place or been friends with someone for a while. However, once you get the hang of it, it can be incredibly useful.

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    8. Get Back to You

    Instead of providing an answer then and there, it’s often better to tell the person you’ll give their request some thought and get back to them. This will allow you to give it some consideration, and check your commitments and priorities. Then, if you can’t take on the request, try saying no this way:

    “After giving this some thought, and checking my commitments, I won’t be able to accommodate the request at this time.”

    At least you gave it some consideration.

    9. Maybe Later

    If this is an option that you’d like to keep open, instead of just shutting the door on the person, it’s often better to just say,

    “This sounds like an interesting opportunity, but I just don’t have the time at the moment. Perhaps you could check back with me in [give a time frame].”

    Next time, when they check back with you, you might have some free time on your hands. If you need to continue saying no, here are some other ways to do so[3]:

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    Saying no the healthy way

      10. It’s Not You, It’s Me

      This classic dating rejection can work in other situations. Don’t be insincere about it, though. Often, the person or project is a good one, but it’s just not right for you, at least not at this time.

      Simply say so—you can compliment the idea, the project, the person, the organization—but say that it’s not the right fit, or it’s not what you’re looking for at this time. Only say this if it’s true, as people can sense insincerity.

      The Bottom Line

      Saying no isn’t an easy thing to do, but once you master it, you’ll find that you’re less stressed and more focused on the things that really matter to you. There’s no need to feel guilty about organizing your personal life and mental health in a way that feels good to you.

      Remember that when you learn to say no, isn’t about being mean. It’s about taking care of your time, energy, and sanity. Once you learn how to say no in a good way, people will respect your willingness to practice self-care and prioritization. 

      More Tips for a Less Stressful Life

      Featured photo credit: Kyle Glenn via unsplash.com

      Reference

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