A great benefit of LinkedIn is that it can help you to get to know clients, introducers and their business. Reading through a well-written profile can often help you more than talking to them for ten minutes. What you do with useful connections is then up to your strategy?
How do I find people I don’t know?
There are many people on LinkedIn that you don’t know, but fit the ideal contact profile for you (either potentially as a good introducer or as an ideal prospect). You may find them in many ways, some of the most common are:
- A targeted search
- Meeting them in groups
- Them being shown as “people you may know”
How do I connect with people I don’t know?
1. Use the LinkedIn function. You could just send them a standard LinkedIn message, click on their name, hit connect and press enter. They’ll get a message saying, “I’d like to add you to my professional network.” Do you ever get those? How do you feel about them? At the very least, personalise your message and give them some real reasons to connect.
2. Get to know them. Do some research: why do you want to connect with them, how can you help them, and vice versa? Then ask.
3. Discuss issues that are important to them. Use discussion groups and contribute useful material to things that they are discussing. The connection request is then far easier, you belong to the same group and they already know you.
4. Answer their questions. From the main menu, select “More” and then “Answers”. If there is something you specialise in being asked, it’s a great way to get to know people.
5. Ask a mutual connection to connect you. There is a function to do this, although it relies on you giving a good reason to your connection and to them. But if you’ve done that, it can work well.
Heather Townsend, Britain’s queen of networking, helps professionals achieve business and career success using social media and networking. Follow her Joined Up Networking blog for more useful tips and tricks. She is the author of the current best-selling book on networking The Financial Times Guide To Business Networking which has 68 five-star reviews on Amazon.