I use LinkedIn. I like LinkedIn. And, like you, I’m getting a lot of requests for connections. When some connections didn’t even reply to my “hello” email after connecting, I thought, ”What’s the point of that connection?”
I thought it might be instructive if I shared what I’m learning:
For some people, LinkedIn is simply a place to store a resume. That’s cool. But, I really believe the platform represents an extraordinary opportunity to connect like-minded people worldwide. Leveraging technology to initiate or extend business relationships, which was not possible before due to time and space, creates the potential for powerful synergies for generating something better for everyone.
My core business is in sports – and specifically soccer uniforms. As an extension of that, I’ve build a free soccer coaching website, Soccer Classroom. Through that platform, I’ve connected and built meaningful relationships with people around the world. People like world-renown sports psychologist, Simon Hartley and former pro coach Phil Barber and speed and agility expert Richie Whall. My connection to these individuals didn’t begin and end with the “Accept” button. We’ve built a relationship based around shared interests and the invigorating notion of shared value. That’s why I’m using LinkedIn. And, like all my relationships – online or offline, I always start with, “How can I help?”
But there’s a problem…
It seems that people don’t know why they’re on LinkedIn…other than being trained like monkeys to click the “accept” button. It’s the new water cooler conversation, “Hey, I have 276 connections on LinkedIn. How about you?” Now, I don’t need connections on LinkedIn. I already have friends on Facebook. I need shared-value/shared-interest connections where I can add value to our relationship. This is really the magic of LinkedIn – finding people who are passionate and can help create something greater than we can achieve individually.
And, in realizing that, here’s the underlying problem:
People can’t clearly express: Here’s who I am, here are my experiences and interests and here’s how I can add value to our relationship…
Understanding how you add value to your relationships, your job, your life is paramount to your own success – not just at LinkedIn. If you can’t walk into your boss’ office this morning and say, “Here’s how I add value to the company” then you should fire yourself and find another job where you do add value. Because it is only a matter of time before your boss is going to catch on that you’re wasting the company’s money.
Now, it’s not that we don’t have value; we all have value in our own way. It’s that we haven’t been trained to think about our relationships in these terms. Imagine the possibilities you open up when you change your mindset! As you log on and connect with people on LinkedIn, read their profile and think:
- How can I help?
- How can I add value?
The key to success on LinkedIn: Figuring out “Why am I here?” and “How do I add value?” If you aren’t thinking about adding value to the relationship, then you’re going to end up with a heap of connections and a pile of wasted time with no actual result. The same is true in your “offline” world. By helping first, the theory of reciprocity kicks in and you receive – because you have equity in the relationship.
Understanding My Value
Other than my belief to prove that “Good Guys can finish 1st”, my core value lies in two areas: soccer and business. I’ve spent my life in both – both domestically and abroad. Now, most of the connections I’ve forged on LinkedIn relate to my core business of soccer. And, I’m pretty clear about how I can provide value there. Additionally, over the course of the last decade, I’ve built over a dozen online businesses. During that time, I’ve become dangerously proficient in operating websites and have helped shepherd businesses online. As a result, I have two strong areas of competence where I can add value that I can present to my connections. Here are my value statements:
Like you, my passion for soccer intertwines with my daily life as a soccer player, retailer and coach for 20 years. With a strong belief in “giving back”, I created Soccer Classroom – a free soccer coaching site – as my gift to the soccer community. Let’s just say, I love this game just like you!
I want to offer Soccer Classroom’s platform to you. From coaching drills to articles on preparing your team, we’d love to have you contribute at Soccer Classroom and be exposed to 6,000+ fans and thousands upon thousands of visitors. At the same time, you can raise your profile by becoming a published author and giving back to the community yourself. As a published author, you get your picture and bio (with links) on each article. The vision for Soccer Classroom has always been a shared community platform where people who have taken so much from the game can give back by sharing their experiences and unique perspective. It’s working brilliantly and coaches are learning like crazy…
If you are interested in leveraging the Soccer Classroom platform and raising your profile in the game, please drop me a line. I hope you’ll seriously consider the opportunity to both give back and to connect. Those who have already taken advantage of the opportunity have seen significant rewards. And, at the same time, who knows what relationships (and opportunities) will blossom from that investment.
Business Building & Internet Marketing Value
With nearly a decade of experience on the web, I’m happy to share my perspective with you about building an online business and an audience. I’d even be willing to share with you the planning documents I use to successfully bring businesses online (contact me and I’ll email them to you). Other areas of competence:
- Google Adwords Platform
- Facebook Ad Platform
- Content Strategies
- Keyword Research and Site Architecture
- Site Planning and Development
- Operating your website for results
And, so there you have it. I hope that my clear vision of adding value will actually foster a relationship – not just a connection- on LinkedIn.
Now, how can I help provide value to you?