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BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT

It's part sales, part marketing, part branding, part market research and development.

But most of all, it's an art whose masters have made millions.

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The Value of LinkedIn As a Cross Network Platform

I had a conversation today with a colleague of mine, Bob Denton, from Prime Connexions.

We were talking about the value of LinkedIn and LinkedIn-Centric events and the potential for being perceived as a "threat" that established organizations could conceivably experience in relationship to those events.

It struck me that LinkedIn is one of those platforms that not only allows users to strategically build their own "personal" networks, but it allows them to really explore the organizations that they already belong to.

Take the Scottsdale Area Chamber of Commerce for example. There are nearly 2000 members to the organization. Some participate at a very high level, some come to networking events, some participate only at special events. All in all - they have the potential to derive lots of value from their membership.

Now think about adding LinkedIn to the mix. Not only are they going to have the benefit of their Chamber membership, but they will also be able to connect with ALL the chamber members - even the ones who don't attend events. They can search that network to find connections within their current Chamber membership and further unlock the value of that network.

To me, that's a HUGE win. Think about it. Actually being able to get to know other Chamber members and to create relationships with people because of a third party platform.

Further, coming to a LinkedIn Centric event allows people to get access to the ENTIRE Chamber (tier 2 connections) even if they belong to say another organization. If that other organization doesn't have what the attendee needs, a quick invitation and a connection unlocks the door to quick and easy access to the needed resources.

It should work like this in real life - but unfortunately it doesn't, for the most part. People are busy. They need what they need when they need it. LinkedIn simply makes it easier - across networks - to find what they are looking for.

It's my intention to help educate all the networks in my community about LinkedIn and how it can truly unlock the value of the networks they maintain.

 

Raymond Chip Lambert
Network 2 Networth

Deep Business Development

 

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What is a social network ? Shouldn't it be based on trusted and known relationships?

Asked by Akim Sissaoui in Linkedin Answers

Akim, I appreciate the question and enjoy looking at the responses.

From my POV we all live in the middle of an enormous network: friends, family, colleagues, customers, prospects, interest groups - etc.

I view "social network" kind of like a tag - that is it is a way of sorting through the enormity of what we are confronted with each day.

Under the "social network" tag we could have thousands of sub-tags that allow us to further segregate the types of relationships that happen in our "social network". I agree that it is useful to have a sub-tag of "trusted" and "known". This allows us to accomplish some of the things we are already conditioned to use these sub-tags for.

As far a LinkedIn goes, it is a tool to help us capture our network and see into it in a way that has never been before. We can see the INTERRELATIONSHIP between network connections. And we can discover pathways though our "trusted" and "known" contacts to get access to those relationships and resources that we need to get where we want to go.

We can also be that pathway for the people in our networks.

It takes an order of magnitude jump to be able to see this. But I feel it is what is unleashing the individual from their own "blindness" to what networks really have to offer.

Linkedin is a tool. Nothing more, nothing less. The real power is understanding your network and putting it to work for you - and being willing to do the same for those key people in your networks.

Raymond Chip Lambert
Network 2 Networth

Deep Business Development

 

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LinkedIn Question: In which way does LinkedIn help you?

In her recent post to LinkedIn Answers, Yvonne Keijzers asked the following question:

In which way does LinkedIn help you?

Here is my response:

LinkedIn helps me connect with resources I never knew I had.

I teach a program on network development and LinkedIn is rapidly evolving as a topic of supreme importance.

Imagine this - in the real world you know X number of people. Your relationship with the majority of them is fairly casual. Even with the few people that you know well, there is a fair amount about them which you will never know unless it becomes the topic of a conversation; or you may discover things about them accidentally or in passing.

With LinkedIn, I have been able to look into the networks of the people that I know well and begin to have conversations with them that have led to significant new relationships, business, information sources, business intelligence, etc. Not only do I get know the people in my network much more deeply, but I get to continually expand my network and thus my value to my clients, my friends, and the group of people that I am looking to serve.

I've got a link to my blog where I posted a video on the power of a network and more deeply network development. Funny and very easy to understand. Check it out.

LinkedIn and social networking 2.0 in general, have bridged the gap between my father's advice that "in your lifetime you'll be able to count the number of true friends on one hand" and my mentor's admonition that "you live in the middle of an enormous network of resources and relationships" and have allowed me to tap into and leverage both.

Great question and thanks for asking!

Raymond Chip Lambert
Network 2 Networth


Deep Business Development

 

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An Answer to a Biz Dev Question on LinkedIn

What's the best way (or ways) for a young professional in consulting to build their ability to one day bring in clients?


Asked by Scott Whitbread

Big question. Here's a shot from me!

1 - Build your skillsets and expertise. Being good at what you do and knowing what you are talking about is crucial for the credibility you are looking to build.

2 - Begin to read and know what the talking heads are saying in your industry as well as the vertical markets you are servicing. When you can speak intelligently to the issues that your markets are facing and really speak their language, one of the main barriers (being an outsider) disappears. Become conversant in the languages of your markets.

3 - Understand the myriad needs of your desired clientele. You are not going to be able to solve all of them. But as you build your network, look to include other professionals who can make you look like a hero for recommending them. This goes a long way toward building relationships in your markets. It also gets you known by the people who could be referring you future business.

4 - Seek to understand the sales cycle and the sales process associated with what you do. Master this. It is complex at first glance. However knowing it backwards and forwards will let you create a pipeline of business as well as create opportunities where most people cannot see them. Become a masterful sales person. This will also help you train the people who could be referring you. When you know the process and how you qualify a suspect/prospect, you can communicate that to others and grease the referral slide.

5 - Build value into everything that you do. Build a reputation for value. People will begin to search you out as you brand yourself this way.

6 - Enjoy yourself. People like to work with people they like to be around. When you are enjoying yourself and what you do, this communicates louder than anything you say. Especially if you are looking to cultivate referral business. I could go on and on, but this gives you a starting point. I'd be happy to chat with you offline if you're serious about developing this skillset!


Raymond Chip Lambert
Network 2 Networth

Deep Business Development

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Social Networking in Plain English

One of my students sent this to me and it is a beautiful illustration of the power of networks.

Unlock the power of yours!



If you want to see more, go to Blip Tv. - The Common Craft Show

Great Job !

What? Train my referral sources?

Getting referrals is a mysterious processes, right?

I've got a question in Linkedin Answers right now and the wide variety of repsonses is interesting.

They range from - You work hard, you do a good job, and you pray that people actually refer you - to - Have a script where you ask for referrals at the beginning or the end of your transaction.

I personally believe that the best way to get more referrals is to find people who are in the perfect position to refer you and train them to do that. And then reciprocate!

A friend of mine, Jordan Adler. works with Sendout Cards and is the top guy in the company. He's developed a website, The Cool Buzz, where he actively trains the people in his network how to reproduce what he does.

Now I know what you are thinking - I'm not selling what he's selling; my business doesn't work that way.

Maybe.

Couldn't you find industry partners who are perfectly positioned to refer you and build a resource center for them where they can see how you qualify people? Or how you deal with objections? Couldn't you put your material online where they could get to it no matter where they were so they could easily position you with their clients? Couldn't they do the same for you?

This idea so intrigues me that I am working on a resource center just like this for people who refer me. My website is undergoing a redesign with this in mind. I'll keep you up to date as this happens.

Meanwhile - this is being done all over the internet. It's called affiliate marketing. While this may be a bit different, the parallels are intriguing!

Consider putting a program together. Talk to the people who already refer you and see what they think. Don't take my word for it. Try it!


 
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