It’s on You to Build Your Network

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This blog comes directly from Kim!

In the past few months, I have been solicited multiple times through LinkedIn, email or phone. These individuals always have a great partnership opportunity for 8THIRTYFOUR, and it is always mutually beneficial. Just today I got a job offer. Seriously?

Listen up. Cold emailing, LinkedIn connecting or calling is NEVER going to work in your favor, and it is time you learned a few things about building a network.

Freaking Engage Already
If you are connecting over social media, then engage with the person you are reaching out to. I accept anyone’s request to connect on LinkedIn, but that sure as hell doesn’t mean I now want to grab coffee and learn all about how you can help grow my business. If I don’t know you from Tom, Dick or Harry (and I don’t even know those guys), then what makes you think I am craving an awkward interaction with you at a local coffee shop? Study my profile, learn more about 8THIRTYFOUR, read my posts and then figure out the best way to reach out.

Know Your Audience
For fuck’s sake. If you reach out to me about printing services, am I even the right contact? Did you go to my website and see if there is a creative director or designer on staff? If so, don’t you think it would make more sense to start there? Also, stop with the canned messages. “So glad we could connect. I am looking forward to learning more about your business.” No, you’re not. You don’t actually give a shit.

Look It Up
Mutually beneficial relationships are really a thing, but you aren’t using the phrase right. When I am targeting a potential client, I don’t send them a LinkedIn message and then pat myself on the back for a job well done. That is lazy. You are lazy. I figure out how to provide value to that company/person, like free publicity or a ticket to an upcoming event. Sometimes I send a handwritten note that congratulates them on a recent accomplishment. Did you notice what is missing from my list? I didn’t ask them for anything. I gave instead.

Network, Network, Network
If your company serves a certain industry, then attend events that attract those companies. Talk to people, hand out business cards and send them a note that says, “Hey, it was great to meet you and learn about [insert something interesting they said here]. I’m looking forward to connecting at the next event!” 

Did you notice what’s missing from my spiel? I didn’t ask them to buy from me or to listen to my really shitty sales pitch.

Get Involved
Join a board, organization, volunteer…do something. Part of selling is building a network and constantly growing and cultivating it.

As Jeffrey Gitomer said, “If they like you, and they believe you, and they trust you, and they have confidence in you…then they may buy from you.”

Stop being lazy. Your tactics are not working and never will. Put in the time and effort.

Oh, and stop trying to sell me life insurance, financial services or some dumb partnership opportunity. If you really want to win me over, then introduce me to someone who needs my services and buy me wine with plenty of ice.

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