Categorize, prioritize and then nurture connections accordingly. Not all connections are created equal nor is the time we should spend on each.
Categorize Your Contacts
We have found the category outlines Keith Ferrazzi shares in his book Never Eat Alone are consistently useful, because of the simplicity they offer.
- Personal/social acquaintances – friends, family
- Prospects – self-explanatory
- Business associates – involved with professionally
- Aspirational contacts – people you’d like to get to know, and would like to establish a better relationship with
Prioritize Your Contacts
Within each of your categories you have goals and aspirations. By keeping those goals in front of you each new contact can be prioritized accordingly. (One of our goals is to Pay-it-Forward by helping others with their goals, especially new contacts that might not have made the priority list, but have a goal and attitude to achieve it.)
- Review their LinkedIn profile
- Ask your new contact what they’re currently seeking
- Determine the level of the contact. Do you need to stay in touch once a week, month, quarter, etc.
Nurture Your Contacts
- Respond to each request for contact by either acknowledging a connection or requesting more information
- Say thank you. Send a customized response not a generic advertising blurb
- Focus on establishing rapport – get to know the person. Filling a need works better than pushing a sale
- Offered them a service or help that will move them forward
- Stand out! Go beyond the birthday, holiday doldrums when everyone else is doing the same thing and connect when you will have more time to check-in on current projects and upcoming events
- Be genuine. You can express that you’re excited to stay in touch, however, in context you can tell if the phrase ‘I’m so glad we connected’ are just words or if you really mean it
LinkedIn success involves more than just creating a profile, it demands engagement, being selective about your connections, posting comments in groups, and keeping your goal in focus.
We gain something from each experience whether positive, negative. Please share what works for you.