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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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An Open Letter to LinkedIn - Let us Really Adopt Your Platform!

I just posted this as a comment on the LinkedIn.com blog.

I'd been on a phone call with a gentleman I met 18 months ago and was reconnecting because we share a common market.  My frustration is this: After this communication, I had to go to LinkedIn to send an invite, go back to my CRM to enter the Email communication, and then set a follow up task to make sure that this opportunity didn't get dropped.  Multiple steps in disjointed systems - They don't talk.

But what if they could?  What if I could do this all in the same place?  And it was integrated?

"I am a huge fan of the site!  I love the work that you are doing to create a rich, relationship environment.

Some suggestions though:

  1. Add the functionality to really manage relationships.  The Outlook toolbar is a great example of this.  I can be reminded to touch base with people if we haven't emailed in 60 days.  I can see when their birthday is and stay on top of it.  I can use my Explorer Toolbar to capture people that I want to learn more about.  But there is no comprehensive way for me to manage my relationship inside the application itself.  I already use LinkedIn as a huge part of my business development strategy.  Adding this functionality would move me out of my Outlook environment completely.
  2. Let me bring my contact's full info into the application.  Then this becomes my platform for everything.  You guys are tight with Google - Integrate this with their Apps, Calendar, CRM and email and you've got THE KILLER BUSINESS APP.  Nothing could touch it.  I'd pay handsomely for a system that could do that because I could quintuple my efficiency.
  3. Let us fully adopt this.  Right now it's fragmented.  It's an additional step.  I understand what your focus is - connecting people.  Let us take it to the next step to use it as the platform for managing all of it.

 

As I said,  I'm excited about what is happening within LinkedIn and am training people to use it in the small business arena.  Add this functionality and you can revolutionize the way business gets done.

My 2 cents."

I'm more than willing to continue to operate inside the current Terms of Service.  I understand what the system is for - It's a Social Medium.  So let me add it to my current business processes so I can more closely map the reality of my everyday business experience.  That's the point isn't it?

 

Raymond Chip Lambert
Network 2 Networth
Outsourced Business Development

 

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"Can You Hear Me Now? How About Now?" AKA It's the Network

In the last several weeks I've had the privilege to speak to some pretty intelligent people who have had various levels of success in their businesses.  And as someone who puts on live events (see our LinkedIn® Live! Event in Phoenix) I find it intensely interesting that people still don't get that it's not just about who you meet.

That got me thinking about how to effectively communicate what I know about networks, the nature of networks, and the impact that has on business development and referrability.

The first thing that came to mind were those annoying Verizon®  commercials with the technician in the horned rimmed glasses.  He was on the phone with one person - ostensibly testing the quality of the network - and behind him were the thousands of people that were BEHIND the network.  The power of that message is that it's not just about the one-on-one of the phone call - but the network that's behind it. (BTW - read about how effective that branding campaign was) Can you hear me now?

The second thing that happened was a phone call I had with a gentleman from Oklahoma City, Kirk Shelley.  Kirk is interested in what happened with the Ron Paul phenomenon.  Grass roots organizing.  Millions of dollars donated to an "unknown".  A message that got out regardless of how the corporate media covered the story.  Blogs.  Social Media.  This is the true nature of a network. Can you hear me now?

Then there's the Internet. A network of networks.  Think about how that has impacted your life.  How you collect and manage information.  What can you do today in 10 minutes that even 10 years ago was next to impossible? Google? E-mail? LinkedIn® Can you hear me now?

In my humble opinion, placing a "networked" technological backbone (known as social media software) behind humanity's aspirations will revolutionize humanity the way the Internet revolutionized (and continues to revolutionize) information.

Go back and read the "Cluetrain Manifesto".

See how much it has influenced the online world over the last 10 years.  See how much markets (which are networks) have begun to create technologies to be heard. (Blogs - You Tube - Social Bookmarks, etc.) Can you hear me now?

And finally, there was a poll in the Phoenix Business Journal about "21st Century Networking" and some of the responses highlight the current state of thinking - at least by respondents - around networking, social networking sites, and social media.  People still don't fully understand the implications.

Online social networking, is not necessarily about the one-on-one connections.  It's about getting access to what's really in the NETWORK.  Graduates of my Business Development Training know this. Of course real world networks are important - that's what social media is about.  It's about connecting with people you know in real life.  It's about sharing resources, knowledge, connections, etc.  It's about discovering new tools that will make your life easier, more enjoyable, productive, or profitable and sharing those with the folks in your network.  And with tools like LinkedIn®, MySpace®, Facebook®, etc. you can begin to meet your markets where THEY are - know what THEY think.  Know what is important to THEM.

When you understand this - you can begin to speak what my friend Jon Ward refers to as their 'Tribal Conversation'.  And when you do that, you are no longer an outsider looking in.  You are someone who is one of them - who has solutions to their problems.  Who speaks their language.  Who knows their friends.

And that, my friends, is the opportunity of a Network.

Can you hear me now?

 

Raymond Chip Lambert
Network2Networth
It's Much More Than a Book of Business!™

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