What You Need to Know
- Once you have a range of first-level connections on LinkedIn, you can approach second-level connections as potential clients.
- Influencers, people who know people or those with common interests make good prospects.
- LinkedIn is an effective, convenient way to keep in touch with prospects who don't live near you.
Isn’t everyone looking at LinkedIn as the next great prospecting tool? You need a wide range of first-level connections to raise your visibility and establish yourself as a subject matter expert. LinkedIn will allow you to invite your contact list to become connections. That’s good, but we should approach this more strategically.
You want your LinkedIn connections to have certain characteristics. Ideally they currently do business or have the potential to do business. They might be influencers, or people who know people. Maybe they have interests in common. People do business with people they like.
14 Logical Categories of Connection Opportunity
Let’s look at silos of people who should be on your list. My strategy is to approach second-level connections, where we know someone in common.
1. Current clients. This shouldn’t violate confidentiality because they aren’t identified as clients. Your firm can clarify this further.
Rationale: They do business. You can drip-market to them through your posts and messaging. They provide the potential for second-level connections.
2. College alumni. You want a reason to suggest connecting. We roomed together. We were in the same class. We graduated from the same school. You will likely have several second-level connections. If those names look familiar, they will likely conclude you are OK, too.
Rationale: That old school tie can be a strong draw.
3. People in your favorite local nonprofit. People list their interests on their LinkedIn profile. You might both belong to the historical society, community association or amateur theater group.
Rationale: You are a familiar name with common interests.
4. People living in the same town. You know more people than you think. You see them at the supermarket or the hair salon. Put in the name of your town, searching for second-level connections. See what’s in the net.
Rationale: In many cases, either their name or photo will ring a bell.
5. Business owners in town. This might include Chamber of Commerce members, especially if you are a member too. They are often involved as donors to nonprofits. As business owners, they have all kinds of prospect potential.
Rationale: Saying “We are both chamber members” lays the groundwork for connecting.
6. Members of your religious organization. You see their faces on a regular basis. Build a list. Try searching for them by name. They might have come up in some of the earlier categories.
Rationale: People often share a bond with people of the same faith.
7. Your gym friends. They might (or might not) turn up in an earlier category. The key here is knowing their names. Start by trying to build a list. You probably know first names. Introduce yourself the next time you work out. They should volunteer their name when you do.