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3 Ways to Use a New LinkedIn Business Networking Survey

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Even if you’re not a job searcher or “in between careers,” here are some interesting insights that can be applied to your marketing whether you’re involved with selling life insurance, annuities, long-term care insurance, disability insurance, supplemental health products or any other products or services under the sun.

According to a recent official LinkedIn blog by Blair Decembrele (most of this piece is based on her contributions), 80% of LinkedIn members consider professional, or business networking to be important to new job opportunities and career success. Probably not a surprise. But did you know that 70% of people were hired at a company where they had a connection?

Conversations help you build relationships that can ultimately land your next job opportunity, but when was the last time you actually checked in with an old coworker to see how they’re doing, or asked someone you were introduced to at an event to meet for a catch up? If your answer is, “I don’t remember,” you’re not alone — and here’s the data to prove it.

(Related: How to Get More Referrals From a Business Networking Group)

LinkedIn surveyed thousands of professionals from around the world to understand how they feel about networking, what triggers (or prevents) them to do it, and how frequently they’re making connections.

The LinkedIn online survey that these results were based on was conducted Feb. 6 through March 18. The sample included 15,905 LinkedIn members in 17 countries.

Here are three key points from the data.

1. Networking attitudes don’t match networking behaviors.

While most people agree that networking is a good idea and important to career success and growing a business, the reality is many around the world don’t feel able to stay in touch with their network as regularly as they’d like.

38% globally said they find it hard to stay in touch with their network.

The leading cause? Nearly half (49%) globally say it’s because they don’t have enough time. Interestingly, despite the majority (79%) globally agreeing that professional networking is valuable for career progression, less than half (48%) globally say they keep in touch with their network when things are going well in their career.

2. You need to tap your connections to find your way in.

Don’t underestimate the incredible power of your professional network and a casual conversation. Find the time! Your connections, or mutual connections, can be key to finding your next job or career opportunity.

More than one-third (35%) say that a casual conversation on LinkedIn Messaging has led to a new opportunity. What type of new opportunities?

Business deals for one. One-quarter of professionals globally have established a new business partnership through having a conversation on LinkedIn Messaging. If you find someone you’re interested in working with, send them a message — they could wind up as your newest business partner.

Nearly two-thirds (61%) of professionals globally agree that regular online interaction with their professional network can lead to the way in for possible job opportunities. Consider sharing an article, asking a question, or reaching out if you’re planning a trip to their home town.

3. Networking your way in can be easy.

Whether you’re reconnecting with a former colleague, searching for a job, looking for a potential candidate, or landing your next big client, you can start an instant conversation from anywhere on LinkedIn. If you need a conversation starter, LinkedIn shows you career milestones such as a job change, connections in common, and many other insights to break the ice. You never know who will help you find your way in.

What Do You Do Now?

Here are three ideas about how you can use the survey data.

1. Put a system in place where you reach out to a certain number of people every day.

I mean every day! This can be through LinkedIn, email, texting, or my favorite form of technology – the phone. (I think there’s an App for that!). Nothing beats a personal connection for business networking.

Think of how your life would change if you got into the habit of reaching out to five people a day just to check in and see what’s going on in their life. (Pick a number you can commit to daily.)

If you ask questions of them, they’ll ask questions of you. That’s how it works.

2. In the event you’re not naturally curious, write questions down ahead of time and force yourself to become interested.

Soon enough, you will be. Ask questions about work, vacation, plans for the summer, family, interests, sports, whatever. Keep it interesting and light. Maybe the conversation gets to a point where you can exchange mutual connections. But this won’t happen by itself. It will happen if you reach out to people regularly and ask the right question – you might just get the right answer!

Staying in touch and daily outreach doesn’t take long and it’s usually fun. And it costs – nothing!

3. Go top to bottom through your database. When you’re done, start over.

LinkedIn is the largest “Rolodex” in the world and it updates itself. Use it as a resource. There’s no excuse.

Out of sight is out of mind.

— Connect with ThinkAdvisor Life/Health on Facebook and Twitter.

Michael Goldberg (Photo: MG)

Michael Goldberg is a speaker, consultant, and the founder of Knock Out Networking. He’s also the author of “Knock-Out Networking!”