A triathlon is a multiple-stage competition involving the completion of three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines. Swim, Bike, Run. The swim is 2.4 miles, the bike is 112 miles, and the run is 26.219 miles. Training for something like this does not happen overnight. It’s a progression of capabilities. Networking, Prospecting, and Marketing can be considered three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines in the LinkedIn Triathlon. If you want to cross the finish line, you need to balance all three activities.
Earlier this month, Kurt Foedisch published Stretch Your LinkedIn Muscles with this LinkedIn Warm-Up and I published The LinkedIn Triathlon – The First Leg, where we talked getting involved on LinkedIn… networking and engaging. Now that you are well on your way to competing in the LinkedIn triathlon, let’s take a look at the second leg.
Prospecting and Building a Purposeful Network.
The bike leg of most triathlons takes up 50% or more of the total race time. How fitting. Prospecting and Building Your Purposeful Network should take up a good portion of your LinkedIn activity… at least initially.
You want to maintain a realistic consistent effort throughout the race, especially on the climbs. The same rules apply to your LinkedIn efforts. Be realistic, consistent, and persistent. Determine how much time you have per day to prospect on LinkedIn, then stick to your routine. Don’t let your sales funnel fill, then empty, then fill, etc. Maintain a consistent effort.
How can I compete in the second leg? Let me count the ways.
- Build a Purposeful Network. Don’t connect just to connect. Connect with prospects, clients, referral partners, centers-of-influence, etc. Connect with professionals who you can provide insight and thought leadership to as well as those who can do the same for you. Connect with individuals that you can engage with and help. Be purposeful; know why you are on LinkedIn, then build the right network of professionals around you.
- Advanced and Saved Searches – Implement Advanced Searches on your 2nd degree connections. Save the searches that work best with your target audience and work them weekly/monthly.
- Search Your Connections’ Connections – Determine who your referral partners are and work this process with them. Engage in a proactive referral process. Schedule a time to connect via phone, skype, face-to-face (always a favorite), social media, or email and help open doors for each other. Forget about the old technique of asking your referral partners to send introductions your way when they run into someone that may need your help. Leverage the power of LinkedIn to search their contacts for exactly who you want to meet and give them the paragraph that they can use to introduce you. Have them do the same. Now you are being proactive.
- LinkedIn Groups – Join the groups that have your target already in them. Use the Advanced Searches to find the professionals that you are specifically interested in connecting with and message them. LinkedIn Groups allow you to message group members regardless of your connection level.
- Publisher Platform – Post your long-form posts here. Whenever a professional likes or comments on your post, take a look at their profile and determine whether it makes sense to reach out to schedule a time to connect. Then reach out, thanking them for taking the time to read and comment on your blog. This is an excellent format for prospecting as the professionals that are taking the time to read/like/comment are clearly interested in what you have to say about your subject-matter-expertise.
- Who’s Viewed Your Profile – I compare this to someone who has walked into the front door of your office building. They showed up to let you know they are interested. They found you from any number of resources and now here they are… so what do you do? Offer assistance. Reach out and investigate how you can help.
This is the ‘Bike’ leg, the most time consuming of the 3 three continuous and sequential endurance disciplines in the LinkedIn Triathlon. Although all of this is important strategically, it is equally as important (if not more) to continue to develop your professional relationships off-line. It is those off-line activities that allow us to leverage these on-line activities. Even with all that is available to us today, there is nothing like a handshake and eye contact.
Stay tuned for my next blog – the final leg in the LinkedIn triathlon.
- Be the first to give to your new business relationships
- Always pay it forward
- Network with purpose.
Good luck and good networking! Remember… It’s All About Leverage.
Dedicated to Dr. Judy Lytle (I call her Dr. J) for her dedication to (among other things) physical fitness 😉 You’re awesome, Jude.