Friday, February 3, 2017

Why You Should Never Turn Down A Potential Business Contact

For the second time in over a decade, I've been sent to "jail."

No- not "actual" jail, but, rather LinkedIn "Jail." You see, LinkedIn has rules regarding contacts, linking, and SPAM related things. When I first started building LinkedIn contacts, this wasn't an issue.
Ace Luciano is a LinkedIn Expert, but even he sometimes runs afoul of rules
Ace Luciano was sent to "LinkedIn Jail" for a brief period...
Then, there was an issue that could be solved by purchasing a "premium profile," which I did. That solved it for about 10 years. Next, when I tried to make a connection with a pleasant introduction, I received the following message: "Recently, several of your contacts have indicated that they do not know you." This was not the case when I was previously "jailed"- That time it was I had been marking "friend" too often (This was in my VERY EARLY LinkedIn Days.) Here is what Linkedin can suspend your ability to send contacts requests for: 1. The recipient's email preferences are set to only receive invitations from members who know their email address. 2. You've reached the limit of invitations you can send without email addresses to people you've identified as a "Friend" during the invitation process. 3. A number of recipients have clicked "I don't know this person" after getting your invitations.
Even experts like Ace Luciano may not be able to prevent LinkedIn "Jail Time"
Can Ace help you out of Jail? 
Now, I have a rule that I RARELY block or mark people as "I don't know this person"... The following people are simply "not connected."
1. People that are CLEARLY and ABSOLUTELY not going to help me or be of benefit to my network. These people are usually in a completely unrelated field, have few contacts, no contacts in common or have the title "student at.." or something like, "head cashier at local foodmart" or "Awesome plumber that loves Friday night."(- nothing against those people, but I don't see a benefit in connecting.) 2. I used to block all Realtors, until I realized that a LOT of them KNEW people that I wanted to know. Now, I just block the "lead generation" people. For some reason, these people have popped up all over LinkedIn and want people to pay them $5,000 + per month with a minimum 6 month contract, and no guarantees. 3. Anyone that has no or few contacts.
This is a "safety" thing- a lot of spammers out there use more and more "new" and "fake" profiles to gain access to your connections. Unless you are a direct introduction, I block you.

That's it. Almost every single other person I connect with. I certainly don't penalize them for trying. Why? Consider some of the following major "successes" that I have received through what initially was not anything to be considered a serious "business" connection. - access to one of the most difficult to access CEOs of a major corporation in the COUNTRY- through his SECRETARY. You see, this secretary happens to be a hunting and gun enthusiast that had asked to connect with me on LinkedIn. She sent me a very respectful request, explained why she wanted to be connected, and said that she had a network she would be happy to open to me. Fast forward 18 months. I was working a contract that was approaching, of all things, very large lending institutions with over $1 billion in assets. When I begin typing the connection into my LinkedIn program, lo and behold, who do you think pops up? The commission on that project was in excess of five figures. The connection came from somebody that, at the time, I had no "legitimate" business reason to connect with. - A referral to a six-figure job opportunity. Back in the days when I actively looked for executive sales positions outside of the gun world, I received a referral to the executive vice President of a multibillion dollar pharmaceutical company. When I saw a position open at that company, I did not apply through the normal channels. I sent a handwritten letter to him explaining our connection, and followed up with a phone call and email to him seven days later. I was able to skip the first three parts of the "normal" hiring process and go right to the final interviews. How valuable was that connection? - someone that made my job a great deal easier. Within the past year, I connected with someone that was not what I would consider an "active outdoor industry" connection. They were someone who was a high-level sales and marketing executive, and they referred me to one of their friends when I sent out a network request looking for a software program with some very specific qualifications. Not only did my referral save me a great deal of money on that software when I did purchase it, that software has made my life in general a great deal easier. The moral of the story is multi fold. In today's electronic world you need not worry about running out of "space" in your rolodex. You never know who people know and how they will be able to benefit you in the future, and by clicking the "I don't know this person" button on LinkedIn, you will never know the possible millions of dollars you will miss out on in opportunity and ACTUAL income from MOST LinkedIn connections, let alone one that has tens of thousands of direct connections to people in your specific industry. Remember, good networking is good business!

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