In this week’s Podcast Recapper we look at Xero Hour episode nine. In this installment of Saul Colt and Bob Knorpp’s show, Colt interviews LinkedIn consultant, keynote speaker, author of New Business Networking Dave Delaney about networking in person, how to use LinkedIn effectively, and why quality trumps quantity when it comes to networking.
“I always thought of LinkedIn as the place you go when you’re looking for a job, but for some reason I’ve been taking it a little more seriously, playing around a little more actively,” says Colt in his pre-interview chat with Knorpp. “I didn’t think much of it but I’ve sort of come around, and this conversation with Dave really enforced my suspicions.”
Colt adds, “They keep adding more tools to do that. It isn’t just that you can link to other people, but you can publish content, you can have a conversation, you can continually enhance your reputations online just using this one platform.”
LinkedIn is one of the best social networks out there for business to business marketers, but not everyone is clear on how to get the most out of it. During the interview session with Delaney, a lot of the mystique is removed from the subject and he puts a strong emphasis on good old fashioned face-to-face networking.
Meeting in person is better than meeting online because the relationships we create in person are so much stronger and more substantial. Not that it’s impossible to have a strong online relationship, but it’s much more likely to happen in person. It’s also important to maintain contact after you meet.
“It’s about meeting people, and something that gets looked over so often is the follow up which is so important,” says Delaney. “If you spend all this money to attend a conference and meet all these great people but you forget to follow up with them, then you’ve lost that opportunity and so those relationships… kind of fizzle out and you forget each other.”
When you go to a conference with the intention of building your professional network, it can be a good idea to go in with a list of people who you would want to meet and prepare a few questions or talking points beforehand. But don’t just launch into a sales pitch right away. Listen first, and build up a rapport with any new contacts before going into a spiel about your business.
When it comes to making connections on LinkedIn, the quality before quantity rules comes into play. “It’s best to connect with people you know or have met and have some connection to as opposed to just accepting anyone who wants to connect,” Delaney says. After all, there are spam bots out there, and illegitimate connections like those aren’t helpful.
“You want a quality network of people,” says Delaney. “It’s embarrassing if someone reaches out to you for an introduction to one of your connections and you don’t really know them. It’s important to try to grow your LinkedIn connections with professional people you have met before.”
Towards the end of the interview, Delaney points out that companies should allow their employees to use LinkedIn because it isn’t just a job search site anymore. With all the new tools the social network is continually adding, it offers so much more now.
“I’ve been so impressed with how LinkedIn keep evolving. Nothing is perfect, of course, but they’re doing a really good job and really being innovative and changing it up and doing great stuff,” he says.
The bottom line is creating a quality network, and maintaining it. Stay in touch with the connections you make, and get out into the world and meet people. When you meet in person, that’s when the magic happens.