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How to connect: Add value for a powerful Linked network

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We all get connection requests every day from people we don’t recognise on LinkedIn. Do you acknowledge and connect with them, or ignore them? If you do choose to connect with them, what’s going to follow? Will you be sold to, or never hear from that person again?

Here's a quick summary of what we'll be covering in this post: 

How to connect with new prospects on LinkedIn

  1. Identify who you want to help - your Ideal Customer Profile
  2. Find a sustainable number of new prospects, 10 to 20 is a great start
  3. Work out how you can add value from the first connection
  4. Find different resources to suit different scenarios
  5. Connect and add value from the initial connection
  6. Test and refine

LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool, but if we don’t know how to use it appropriately we might as well delete our profile immediately.

What percentage of the connection requests that you receive, actually add value to your professional network?

If your experience is like mine, many of your recent LinkedIn connection requests either won't contain any message, or you'll recognise that as soon as you accept, a sales sequence will follow the initial connection.

When they do try to sell you something, if you’re not interested, they’ll move on and you’ll probably never hear from them again.

Consider the percentage of connection requests that actually add value to your life.

I bet it's low.

How different would your experience be, if every contact request you received on LinkedIn added value? Can you change your approach to lead by adding value when you start a relationship on LinkedIn?

Why it's important to start by adding value

It’s fine to request connections with new people you don’t have an existing relationship with, as long as you genuinely want to create a relationship with them.

It’s okay if you are building that relationship because eventually you want to sell to them.

People like to buy.

People just don’t like being sold to. So, don’t start by trying to sell to them.

Begin by helping them. Begin by providing value.

Identify who you want to help and start with a sustainable number

Identify who you want to help, be really clear on this. I recommend that if you haven’t already, define your Ideal Customer Profile and your Unique Value Proposition.

When you have these, identify a small group to begin connecting with. Identify 10 to 20 contacts who would benefit from your assistance as a starting point.

Once you’ve identified this group, work on identifying how you can add value without asking anything else from them.

Make that your connection strategy.

Connect with them and offer them value straight away.

Delivering significantly more value than you charge, or ask for in return

We all need to sell our products and services to give us the cash to pay our overheads, living expenses and invest in the growth of our organisation.

We just think the best way to sell your stuff is to focus on delivering significantly more value than you charge. If you agree with this approach to business and selling, it makes sense to follow the same way of doing things with your approach to nurturing your network on LinkedIn.

Delivering significantly more value than you ask for in return, will attract people to your business and make them want to buy from you. If you can continue to provide the same level of value when they become a customer, they will become a loyal customer.

Developing trust by adding value

We all recognise that we need to build relationships and build confidence before people will buy from us.

One of the ways in which you can add value before someone becomes a customer is to offer a free sample of your product or service, to help them understand if your way of doing things is beneficial to them.

We've been testing this approach ourselves.

We’ve built a new product called the Customer Obsessed Growth System. Eventually we’d like as many businesses as possible to buy it, nevertheless, before anyone will purchase it, we need their attention and to earn their confidence. The most reliable way to get attention from someone who is busy, is to offer them value with nothing asked in return.

We have done this by offering the first step of our system at no charge.

The first step explains how important a Vision and Mission is for every organisation. It then helps you to create and communicate your Vision and Mission in simple steps.

By giving this first module for free, we can identify organisations where we think developing a Vision and Mission will be exceptionally valuable for them. We can then identify appropriate contacts on LinkedIn and connect with them, giving them the opportunity to use this tool for free.

One thing to consider with this approach, is that developing a Vision and Mission is a big ask for a first connection, so consider an appropriate level of help and value to offer at the initial stage. We're working on finding the sweet spot with this, so if you've found it, please share.

Following on from linking by adding value

The great thing with this approach, is that you’ve connected with a new person and given them value immediately and not asked for anything in return.

If they value this first offer of assistance, then you have a platform on which to build a future relationship. 

If they don’t find it valuable, then maybe it isn’t the right fit for them, or it’s the wrong time or the wrong person. Either way you can both move on without anybody's time being wasted.

On the occasions that it isn’t right, we’ve discovered that most people appreciate the effort that we’ve put in and our offer of assistance.

Test this when building your LinkedIn network

If you want to build your LinkedIn connections, think about how you can add value to make a fantastic first impression and start to build a valuable relationship from your initial connection with them.

What resources do you have available that you could offer to your prospects for the initial connection? It's ideal to have options available that will suit the different scenarios that you identify. This approach will also present you with opportunities to add future value following your connection. 

We hope you’ve found this post valuable, if you'd like to get tips like this each week you can subscribe to receive our posts direct to your inbox every Monday.

If you like the sound of building a powerful Vision and Mission for your organisation, sign-up to create yours for free.

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