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Connections on LinkedIn

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Now that we've spent the last 6 Daily Gold Nuggets telling you how to set up your LinkedIn profile, you're probably wondering when we will get to the topic of making money! That starts now, but this is not a quick race; it's long-term, business sustainable building.

First, start out with creating connections. This process will be slow and tedious. Sit down in front of a computer with your top 10% or 20% customer list. Methodically copy and paste their names from your customer management system to the search box on LinkedIn.

We're saying you should do this using a copy/paste method because typing everyone's name from a printout might take until next year, and you've got better things to do.

After you enter their name, click the blue magnifying glass to search for them. Quickly review the search results, but don't spend too much time analyzing the results. Most likely there will be several people with the same name, and sometimes people will erroneously have 2 accounts.

Match up the town name if you know it. LinkedIn will show you their job titles and places they work. You might not immediately recognize their job, and you may have to click their name to review their profile. When you find a customer, you have to click the "Add to network" link.

Before LinkedIn will allow you to connect with people, you need to select an option of how you know them. The choices are "Colleague," "Classmate," "We've done business together," "Friend," "Other" and "I don't know them."

If you select "I don't know them," LinkedIn will show you their policy page and block the request.

For you customers, you should select the "We've done business together" option and then select your jewelry store's name when it appears. There is a text box on this screen that is automatically populated with the message "I'd like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn." You can keep that or change it to something personal.

If you haven't seen the person in a while, you may want to include a more personal message that reminds them who you are and what you do for them. Perhaps a message like: "Debbie, we haven't seen you in the store for a while. You should consider having the prongs on your ring checked soon." A more personalized message will allow the customer to immediately recall who you are and approve the request.

Don't expect anyone to actually reply to any question you put in that box. People are usually too busy in their day to respond to a connection request on a personal basis. Busy professionals are familiar with the LinkedIn request email and your message will simply spark a memory that permits the approval.

After you get through your customer list you should find all your friends and actual business connections. Your business connections include your vendors and service providers.

This will take a while to get through, and perhaps it's a good project for your winter break after you catch up with everything else that's already on your list.

The connections you create become valuable in the long term because occasionally business professionals will browse through their connections. Seeing your name will inevitably remind them of someone's birthday, anniversary or other reason to purchase luxurious jewelry.

As you become more active in groups, your activity will appear on the LinkedIn home page for each of your connections. This is another case of keeping in front of your existing customers without direct messaging them.

Tomorrow, we'll cover Recommendations.
AT: 12/21/2010 10:24:44 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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