No matter what sized business you run, what you sell, or how long you’ve been operational, one of the most important things you have access to is your database of names. It might only have 10 contacts in it, or it might have thousands, it doesn’t really matter. It’s yours and it can make a huge impact on your future success.
I’m a huge fan of networking, whether it’s face to face or via social media platforms but one thing I notice more and more is the amount of people who do it, but don’t do it very well. Yes, they’re great at reaching out and chatting to new faces, but there’s no follow up afterwards. What’s the point of taking a business card if all you’re going to do is drop it in the bin, or worst still the “I’ll deal with that later” drawer?
No matter how much fun you had at a networking event, it boils down to nothing if you’ve wasted that time. And trust me, coming away with a new contact you’re never going to actually get in contact with is a waste of time.
I know I’ve talked in the past about how hiring a Time Saving Hero can help you organise your new contacts after a large networking event or conference; however, we’re also handy on a day to day basis.
Think about LinkedIn. The average user has between 0 and 300 contacts, whilst 15% have 301-499 and 27% have 500-999. Assuming you’re average you’re going to have in the region of 300 people you’re connected to.
How many of those do you talk to on a regular basis?
How many of those do you never talk to?
More importantly, of those 300 how many of them do you not know at all? They’re random requests you accepted way-back-when, and have consequently completely forgotten about.
If you even have one unknown, that’s too many.
Someone you don’t know is completely pointless to you. There’s no relationship, no opportunity to interact; unless you force the issue.
And you can force the issue – you can log on and send a simple InMail. Apart from you don’t have the time.
So that unknown remains unknowable. They could be your next biggest client, but for whatever reason (and I’m sure it’s a really good reason) you’re not reaching out to them.
That’s where a VA can come in.
One of the services we provide is a LinkedIn connexions cleanse (but we’re working on calling it something a bit flashier).
Essentially we will:
- Download all your contacts and ask you to tell us those people you genuinely know, and those who randomly added you and you’ve never spoken to
- We will then InMail the “unknowns” on your account, as you, to reach out to them, and encourage them to have a conversation
- Any responses you receive – you deal with so as to ensure they are having a discussion with you, and not us
- If no response is received within a set period of time (we never advise longer than 2 weeks), we will remove the individual as a connection
For years I’ve been wanting to do a case study on the benefits of this service, but the difficulty is those who use it are often too busy to keep a genuine record of the impact this approach has had on them and their business. When I ask “how many people have you heard back from and what was the outcome?” the answer is usually “a few, and there’s stuff going on in the background”.
It’s never anything tangible.
So, I’m going to do a case study on my own profile.
Since January I have been accepting every request that’s come my way (something that is insanely alien to me), and over the next few weeks I’m going to reach out to all my new contacts who I don’t know and see what happens.