Bag LinkedIn as a tool for business development – and just pick up the phone!

In these trying economic times most professionals have had to increase their number of prospects to win a piece of business.  This means digging deeper into your contact lists and calling more people that you haven’t talked to in a while such as old clients and past prospects.  The thought of calling someone just to reconnect with the hopes of generating an opportunity gives angst to many.  The phone handset begins to feel like a 100 pound elephant.  But all is not lost with the new social media.  We have things like LinkedIn that facilitates this act for us.  All we have to do is initiate a standard note and wait to see if they accept our request to join our LinkedIn network!  We ponder if receipt of our LinkedIn request will prompt our old acquaintances to call us if they have a business need. 


It arrives!  Your contact has accepted your LinkedIn request!  Time passes and they still haven’t called you.  After a few months go by with lightning speed you feel like you are right back where you started with the angst of calling to reconnect.  In this example LinkedIn served the same purpose as the introduction cover letter so many professionals use as a crutch to help them warm up a call.  In the end, you still have to make the call.  Similar to the intro cover letter, if you wait too long to follow up with a personal call, any benefit you may have received from the “link” diminishes.  An easy example to illustrate how this plays out in human nature is in dating.  If you meet someone, connect and get their number, what is the likelihood of forming a long term relationship if you wait to call that person for six months after you met them? 


Most contacts will tell you that if they agree to join your LinkedIn network, they would be pleased to hear from you from time to time.  So if you find yourself feeling good about the number of contacts who agreed to join your LinkedIn network, but feeling frustrated by the lack of leads received from your initiated effort, consider following up the contact acceptance more promptly with a personal call or simply bag the LinkedIn intro note and just pick up the phone. 


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