Quit fooling around with your business networking!

I get it. Sort of.

We connected on LinkedIn a couple of weeks ago after you sent me an invitation. No worries.  I read your profile and at the time, it seemed like you and I could possibly develop a mutually beneficial relationship.Clueless

Then, WHAMO! Out of the blue, you send me a request for a business recommendation. As I had no contact information for you, my response was: “I don’t know you well enough to recommend you… Maybe after I know you better, I’d be happy to give you one.”

4 Tips for LinkedIn Basic Business Networking

1) Don’t ask for a recommendation from anyone you don’t really know. In fact, someone you know fairly well. Instead of asking for a recommendation out of the blue, consider asking for permission to get to know your connection better, first. Whether over a cup of coffee or a short visit to their office, find out about them, their business, their hobbies, their families, whatever is important to them.

Get the ball rolling with, “Hey Bill, we bumped into each other at the Chamber (Lion”s Club,  networking event or wherever).  Your business sounded very interesting. Can I ask, would you be open to meeting with me for 10 to 15 minutes, I’d like to learn more about it. And, to be sure, this is not a sales call.” If you’re hoping to develop a business customer, don’t try to sell anything at this “get to know you” meeting. It is, just that. Don’t have an agenda with the focus on you, make it all about them. Build the relationship.

2) Write your recommendation, first. No one responds faster to you than by sending them an unsolicited recommendation. I did this for my insurance man. I mentioned that he and his office were great, have done business with them for years, and would highly recommend him.

The recommendation I sent was late Friday afternoon, and by my first glance at email on Monday, there was his! Neither were asked for, both were highly appreciated. Of course, if you get one, don’t wait to send one back. Be honest. Be sincere. And above all, be able to stand by your recommendation because you actually know the individual. Endorsements on LinkedIn mean virtually nothing to sincere networking, since they are so easy to get. Push a button and “poof”, 4 endorsements done. Personally, I don’t endorse someone if I don’t know them, or for things I’m unsure they do, either.

3) Be polite, in all that you link in. I was a little short when asked for the unsolicited recommendation. That was many years ago, and I’ve learned a few things since. If you post on a blog, discussion or comment, thank the writer for sharing. Even if you don’t agree 100%, it was their idea to get the conversation started, so be respectful. “Thanks, Bill for your thought that went into this. If I could offer a slightly different…” and fill in your thoughts.

4) Thank everyone that comments. It’s all about engagement. The conversations. The relationships you build. If someone comments on anything you post…Thank them! “Bill, thanks for your thoughts and comments. They differ from mine, however, I appreciate you stepping in and being heard on the subject.”

If you haven’t already, please join my LinkedIn Group, The Art of Business Networking. Tips, techniques and strategies to help you connect, build, and get more business.

If you’re looking for a great referral group, check out: GoldStarClubs.com. If you’re looking for a group, can’t find one or your industry is locked out, please visit: http://bit.ly/gsreferrals and I’ll get you details about starting your own referral group! #goldstarclubs

 

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