I have always viewed LinkedIn as a valuable online tool to help connect with the people whom I might potentially want to work with and ignite the beginnings of business partnerships, client relationships and friendships.
The lifeline of new and existing business is relationships, not connections. This is an important principle to understand. While the internet’s sole purpose is to be a connection machine. It has also caused a lot of fake networking. Networking is always important when it’s real and a useless distraction when it’s fake.
Most of the people using LinkedIn are focused on growing their connections numbers. Keeping track of how many people connect with them. However, the challenge lies in actually going deep not wide with those connections that you’ve made via online. If you’re simply connected to someone but have no further dialogue, what have you really accomplished?
Here’s how you can accomplish something and move from the LinkedIn connection phase into the relationship phase:
- Having meaningful conversations. Initiate a related conversation and the perfect time have one is when you’re top of mind. After you’ve made a new connection, an introduction, received an introduction, answered a question, received an answer to a question and even after someone has commented on your status update or group discussion.
- Move the conversation Off-LinkedIn. Go from text to video communication. Video moves you from being another LinkedIn message to an actual person. Nothing beats being able to look someone in the eye and see their expression/reaction to something you just said. You just can’t get that with LinkedIn. You can use a tool like Skype or a Google+ Hangout to make the visual connection.
- In-person meetings. In-person meetings are crucial in order to move from the connection phase into the relationship phase. A great way to do this is to ask for a one-to-one or attend the same networking events, or conferences.
Question: What do you think? How do you move from the LinkedIn Connection phase into the Relationship phase?