1) Look at someone’s LinkedIn photo when you’re talking with them by phone
When I’m talking to someone I haven’t yet met, I like to look at their LinkedIn photo as we talk. It gives me the sense of talking to someone in person. I smile more. There is a greater warmth that comes across in my voice. My arms start moving expressively (especially if I’m using a headset) and my energy is higher. I really feel like I’m getting to know them and can’t wait to see them in person.
2) Write a couple of notes
During my phone conversation, I usually write in the notes section in my CRM about who referred them, the topic of our conversation, and if there’s any follow-up, or something personal – a note about their children or dog or an interest that we have in common. You can also do this in the notes section of your contacts list.
3) When you meet someone at a networking event or holiday party, connect with them on LI and make a note
Step 1 – Meet someone and exchange names
Step 2 – Exchange business cards (make a couple of notes on their card that will jog your memory later.)
Step 3 – Look them up on LinkedIn the next day and send a personalized message. They may not remember your name but an invitation to connect on LinkedIn with a message that references where you met and perhaps something about what you talked about will be much more likely to be accepted.
Step 4 – Once your invitation to connect is accepted, make a note in your CRM or on your calendar “tasks” with a date and action to follow up. It might be about getting together. It might be about following up with some useful information you’d promised them or that you thought they might be interested in. This is not about selling – it’s about being seen as a valuable and trusted resource.
4) Follow up with someone you’ve added to LI with a personal note based on notes you took
If you set a reminder activity in your CRM or as a task on your calendar, your note to follow up will come into your regular email or as a popup (I prefer emails).
5) Keep your commitments and your ethics intact
Did you tell your new connection that you’d give her the name of a good plumber or the name of an organization that might help her favorite non-profit? Make sure you send that information. If they are a possible prospect for your business, don’t add this connection to your newsletter or email blast list unless they’ve asked to be added or you’ve asked them permission.
Think of the person who is this new connection as the beginning of a long and beautiful relationship. Take it slow and build it gradually.