Shweiki Media has teamed up with Kevin Knebl—international speaker, author, trainer, coach and an authority on social media and marketing—to present a webinar on how to create LinkedIn networking introductions.
Here, Kevin Knebl explains his strategies:
My approach to making proper introductions on LinkedIn has worked extremely well for myself and my clients from all around the world. It has generated millions and millions of dollars in new business, client acquisition referrals, strategic alliances and networking partnerships. This is not a theoretical approach. It is a proven and effective method that works well for clients.
The best way to get good introductions to the best prospects and potential clients is through people you know personally. These people being those who know you, like you and trust you. For example, let’s say I know Steve really well.
I can ask Steve to give me some referrals he thinks I could use. To do this I can call or email him:
“Hey Steve, I think there are some people I know that would potentially be good clients for you and could see value in the work that you do. I think that you probably know people that would be good clients or referrals for me as well. Would you be open to a conversations about creating a mutually beneficial referral relationship?”
If you live close to this person you have chosen to help with these referrals, then meet at a restaurant, coffee shop, etc. If you do not live close, you can set up an online session with them.
Whoever you pick, make sure they are a first degree connection because that way you will be able to see all of their connections they have made on LinkedIn. I can go to Steve’s LinkedIn profile page and scroll through his connections.
On LinkedIn, you can narrow down connections by specifying a certain characteristic in the search bar. For example, you can find people with a certain job title (CEO) who live in a certain area (Austin). LinkedIn will search whatever word or phrase written and find all of Steve’s LinkedIn connections that fit the criteria. For example, Steve has 79 people with the word CEO somewhere in the profile. If I go to advanced search I can narrow it down even more by selecting more specific criteria. For example, if I am looking for someone who is a CEO in the Austin area, it pulls up 13 people. LinkedIn lets you look for a certain industry, geographic location, companies, colleges, etc.
Pay It Forward
The reason why most people do not get as many referrals as they could is because they do not have a simple and elegant system to ask for referrals that does not come off as desperate, slick or sales-like. They also do not know how to make it easy for those that could refer them good business. For example, to make it easy for Steve, he needs to know what a good prospect or referral looks like to me.
I like to operate on the “Pay It Forward” model. This means that I would start by giving Steve my suggestions for him. First, I go to my own LinkedIn profile and look at first degree connections. Then, I ask Steve some questions, such as:
- Do you have a geographic region where you would like to have more clients?
- Is there a specific job you want your potential clients to have?
Once we have a list of people, we can go down it one by one and look for good matches. From their LinkedIn profiles, we can research their Twitter, website, etc. This is a good way to find things in common with people. In my opinion, I look for the personal stuff, such as their hobbies, number of kids, etc.
Every client, every prospect, every date, any interaction with a person you have ever had starts with a conversation.
Say, Steve sees Jan’s profile seems interesting and wants me to refer him. I go to Jan’s profile page and hit “send message.”
“Hi Jan, I hope your 2016 is off to a great start. I was on the phone with my good friend. Steve, earlier today and I couldn’t help but think of you because you are very good at what you do and so is Steve. I am big believer that good people should meet other good people whether or not you guys have a reason to business together or in some way refer business to each other. I would like to connect each other on LinkedIn because I would like you to be connected or just be aware of each others networks. I noticed that you are both big skiers and snowboarders and you both have a couple kids. If you were sitting next to each other in a hotel bar, you would probably be new best friends. Anyways, I have copied Steve on this email. I’ve got to go.”
After writing a personal message like above, go to “Include others on this message” and type in the person’s name. It is just like an email.
In my experience, I have over 87% response rate on these types of personal messages. The stupidest thing Steve could do is respond to this message like:
“Hey Jan, nice to meet you. Any friends of Kevin is a friend of mine. Could I possibly handle your marketing?”
Responding like that is similar to kissing on the first date with tongue. Steve should respond with something like this:
“Hey Jan, it’s nice to meet you too. I’m connected to a lot of people on LinkedIn. Perhaps, I can introduce you to a lot of people or open some doors that can help you in some way.”
It is good to open up the conversation gradually and not jump right into what you want. If Steve offers to pay it forward, the likelihood of Jan getting to know him, like him and trust him is exponentially higher.
What most people in marketing and business try to do is throw a lot of mud on the wall and hope something sticks. However, I like to find people that would be my best prospect or client by figuring who I know that knows them and reaching out with the “pay it forward” model rather than the “buy my product” model.