Start planning for the new year by leveraging your existing network.
December 21, 2018 4 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.
People generally approach the New Year as a time to start anew, a blank page to be filled, a network to be expanded upon, but January 2019 is not just a time to begin afresh but to re-engage with your existing network and develop the relationships for which you laid the foundations in 2018.
Here’s how you can successfully achieve this.
1. Send personalized private messages.
LinkedIn will permit you to send up to 100 private messages per day to your first degree connections. The key to these is to use them well: Personalize messages with the recipient’s name and preferably mention their company, and offer something of value — a company newsletter, a change in legislation that may affect them, a link to an interesting article. Publish an article using LinkedIn’s publishing platform and share the link to it in a message. LinkedIn says more than 1 million people use LinkedIn’s publishing platform, sharing over 130,000 posts each week. Think of this as a Christmas present to your connection, instead of a pitch. If you wish, sign off with a call to action such as “perhaps we can catch up in the New Year?”
2. Leverage your network.
According to LinkedIn, the average B2B purchase now involves 6.8 decision makers. But, 78 percent of sales professionals are connected to either only one person or not connected at all into accounts they’re trying to close. Look through your connections and then see who else with decision-making power also works at their company and connect with them; connect with the entire decision-making board. Did you know that as many as 50 percent of B2B buyers use LinkedIn when making purchasing decisions?
Related: 3 Ways to Stand Out on LinkedIn
3. Endorse your connections.
At first sight, the endorsements section of LinkedIn profiles is often dismissed as a meaningless widget. Wrong. This taps into people’s ego. They generally appreciate the good vibes and attention demonstrated toward them. This has a two-fold positive effect:
- They will endorse you back, which boosts your profile on LinkedIn
- They will remember you exist and it will prompt them into scheduling a call with you. You’ve successfully jogged their memory.
4. Ask your connections for their opinion and feedback
I have yet to see a negative response when clients ask their connections for feedback on a new product or service. This is a particularly effective channel of market research. One client who is about to launch an app has received hundreds of useful insights permitting him to improve the site prior to launching.
5. Make a solid impression — focus on your headline
If you connected with someone years ago, your name may not resonate when you send a message so he or she will quickly take a look at your profile. Also keep in mind that your name and headline will appear in many places on LinkedIn, such as search results pages. Plus, LinkedIn claims users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to be contacted about opportunities.
Be sure your headline is optimized for the right keywords for your job, industry or skill set. You can also use your headline to differentiate yourself from others in your industry. The key here is to use this space to tell your connections precisely how you can assist them. The direct consequence of this is they will them listen to what you have to say.
Ideally, you should hire a professional to optimize your profile so that LinkedIn will prioritize you, but here are some examples of highly converting headlines:
- Co-Founder & Partner — (Company Name) | Private Client Wealth Specialist | Investment Opportunities for Senior Execs
- Co-Founder @ (Company Name) | Providing Transparent Digital Life Insurance Solutions | Equity Research Analyst | Strategist
- Founder @ (Company Name) ] | Strategic Portfolio & Financial Advisor | Assisting Clients Minimize Risk & Maximize Wealth
- Director | Strategic Consultant for International Wealth Management & Financial Planning | Family Office Adviser
What is most important for everyone to do now is to plan ahead for next year. This year, 2018, was the year that LinkedIn transformed both its desktop interface and mobile app with a host of new features. Among the updates were a dedicated notifications section, the ability to add documents to your posts and a scanning feature that may well render your business cards obsolete. Don’t wait another minute — start planning ways to make that subscription pay for itself and effectively develop your connections into a genuine income stream.