In today’s world, it can be costly not to take advantage of digital networking tools. Leveraging LinkedIn, you can easily get in touch with new people and opportunities that help your career grow and help increase sales.
Once in a while you run into a social roadblock in your career where you want to meet somebody who doesn’t know you. Maybe it’s for a project, or business opportunity, or investment. The problem is how do you approach somebody out of the blue and create a meaningful connection if you’ve never been introduced before? This is where leveraging LinkedIn can come in handy to increase sales.
Yakov Elizarov, a leading business development expert, is known for being able to get an introduction with anyone. Using some smart tactics, he is a pro at getting and making introductions leveraging LinkedIn. He spoke to Kristen McAlister from Cerius Executives to share some of his LinkedIn techniques.
Create a warm introduction
Whether in real-life or online, getting the attention of somebody you don’t know yet but you want to know can be tricky. Coming in out of the cold and introducing yourself with no mutual connections or background will not leave a memorable impression and the person will probably not even bother to keep your card.
But that can be mitigated by leveraging your LinkedIn network. Either you’ll find somebody who can introduce you, or you’ll find some link between you to create a warm introduction. Yakov suggests starting with the former.
The first level of making a connection begins by finding somebody who is connected to the both of you. Go through your first, and second connections and you likely will find somebody.
“In the event you don’t have the mutual connection, you can utilize the groups they are a member of and share that joint interest,” said Yakov. “That gives us the ability to reach out to this person, and send an email to them as an introduction, and connect with them to start a conversation.” If you don’t know the connection very well, this won’t happen overnight.
Take the time to interact with the connection first before asking for a favor. Yakov sees a lot of this recently and it holds no value for anyone. Follow them, like or comment on their posts, and provide some value to them first.
Leveraging LinkedIn to send a personal message
Yakov says to never underestimate the power of a personal message when looking to connect. If you are communicating directly with the end individual, whom you don’t know, then send them a personalized message mentioning any mutual contacts or interests. These can be found both on LinkedIn and Google. Mention an article or presentation they posted. When you take the time, it is valued.
Find out exactly what the person is doing: Their current projects? Who they’re working with? Boards they’re on? Organizations they’re involved with? After gathering all that information, look to see how you could synergize some of the connections that they have to their end users and clients, and often lining that up with what you want.
Yakov gave an example of leveraging LinkedIn: “For instance, if I have a connection in the Port of Baltimore and I know that the potential customer has a project in Port of Baltimore, I am going to utilize that mutual correlation, mutual contact, and the people that we may or may not know within the Port of Baltimore to create a warm introduction and conversation. Something where I’m not just coming up to them from the cold and they don’t know me. Instead where I say ‘Hey, we work with these guys, we know that you’re doing these fantastic things. I wanted to learn a little bit more about what you look for when you go out for certain projects, because we work with all these wonderful contractors so that we know how to be an asset and a value to you.’”
Leveraging LinkedIn to ask for an introduction
Imagine you find somebody in your LinkedIn network or group who is connected to the person you want to meet. How would you ask them for an introduction? Yakov said one word — directly.
According to him, a closed mouth doesn’t get fat so you always have to ask for a sale. “Asking for a sale means it’s not just when you’re selling something but when it’s a conversation and you’re trying to accomplish something, even if it’s an introduction you’ll always be selling. That’s the parameters of a business development person, so every conversation is part of the sales process,” said Yakov.
If there’s a mutual connection, the first thing to examine is how well you’re connected. How do you know each other? As well as, what is the extent of your relationship? If your link with them is pretty extensive and you have some common background, then it’s easier to find common ways to reach out.
On the other hand, if your mutual contact is somebody you haven’t had much interaction with, then you can offer to reciprocate on another introduction. Once again look into their background before reaching out to them to see if you can help them in any way.
Understanding their background can help when you approach them. Yakov explained it as, “When I come to them, I’m not just asking them for something but I’m also presenting or giving them something, offering them something. So that it seems that I’m not just asking something for them but I’m there to be a reciprocal partner.”