When you log into a social networking site, it seems very new to most of us. In fact, we just feel lost. Most of us are used to the good old-fashioned process:
- Attend an event or get an introduction
- Get the card
- Connect with the person
- Schedule a meeting
- Submit a proposal
- Close the business
- Ask for a referral
Now while we conduct this old approach, we want you to take a fresh approach using the knowledge you have gained to this point.
The goal is still the same! Get the meeting, provide an amazing proposal, close the business, then get a referral and repeat the cycle.
However, we want you to learn two new techniques to get you there quicker. One is a new best practice for when you meet a targeted prospect, and the next is a proven method to getting targeted, closable appointments.
Building Your Network Consistently
Amazing things happen fast when we do them on social networks as opposed to the old way. With the old way, we get the business card, enter the info into our email system, phone, or if we are really efficient, a contact manager or CRM system. What we would like you to do is a network building practice that will pay off tenfold, using just one of your social network accounts. For the example below, we will use LinkedIn, however this will work with most interconnected social networks on today's market; only the numbers will vary based on the size of the network.
Let's assume that LinkedIn still only has about 60,000,000 active members at the publishing of this article. With that in mind, when we connect it's like adding conservatively 1,000 targeted, like-minded contacts into your system. The reason is degree of separation. On average with LinkedIn, we find the following formula to be very consistent.
1st Degree: If you have 90 direct connections (these are people you know directly that you are connected to), it is equivalent to entering these contacts directly into your contact management system.
2nd Degree: Based on average user counts, you should have roughly 15,000 to 20,000 connections that your first degree contact can introduce you to or that you can effectively see to use your own approach.
3rd Degree: Based on the same average user counts, you should now have 1,600,000 to 2,400,000 connections that can turn into introductions.
Using these rough conservative formulas, this means if you have one contact whom you meet at a networking event, speaking event, business meeting, or just casually, you can then determine whether that person is a good prospect for your business coaching. Once you take the time to enter them into your social network (like LinkedIn), then you will have just picked up about 17,000 3rd degree connections just by adding that one person. Now of course these numbers will vary based on the person's connectivity level, but keep in mind it is conservatively the equivalent of adding only 1,000 targeted like-minded contacts to your system. This gives you a margin of error by 16,000 bad connections that your contact has made, which we typically see is highly unlikely!
Getting the Appointment
So you have your core contacts, and now you have visibility and "access" to their contacts. Now, let's get to the appointments!
There are several techniques, though the most important thing is to make sure you don't just barge into someone's network too quickly. We highly recommend the safest approaches first.
- Ask for a recommendation from the person you are connected through
- Directly compliment/congratulate them on a visible accomplishment, such as an article, promotion, or press
- Ask them for advice on a relevant topic
- Join a group or sub-community in common
These are value-based techniques that will allow you easier access and a more secure method than just blindly jumping into their network.
Once you have established a relationship, it is more appropriate to invite yourself into their network. Nevertheless, as a best practice, we recommend waiting until some level of relationship is built.
In this business coaching industry, our job is to help people, so building a large network is not always necessary. In fact, many of the coaches that we coach are very successful with working on quality rather than quantity. Whichever type of social network you choose to build, just make sure you have a method by which to communicate and build on the relationships you have worked so hard to secure.