Reinvent Yourself Using LinkedIn
Last evening I had the wonderful opportunity to chat with Jill Konrath. Jill is a sought-after keynote speaker, author of three best-selling books, and thought leader in the area of sales. It was an exhilarating talk during which she took me through how she was introduced, kicking and screaming, to sales. Like many of us, Jill had childhood paradigms planted in her mind that associated sales with words such as sleazy, manipulative, and even immoral.
As I sat and listened to her story, I couldn’t help but think about how fortunate I am to be learning from such great people.
Later in the evening, I had coffee with a good friend who is starting an insurance brokerage firm in my hometown. He asked me, “Chris, how are you connecting with all of these people?”
I have been asked this question dozens of times in the past few months. My one-word answer is always the same: LinkedIn.
But obviously there is more detail.
The following is a brief overview of the framework:
1. A Goal
For the past year I have been obsessed with understanding the paradigms we have about sales and how some people are stifled by them while other people like Jill Konrath reinvent themselves and rise above their paradigms. My goal became to connect with thought leaders in the areas of entrepreneurship and sales. I wanted to bring their stories to light in an effort to help others.
2. Devote Time Each Day to Clicking
I began with LinkedIn’s Pulse channels. Anyone with a pulse (pardon the pun) is publishing and reading content there. People are not only publishing, they are also commenting on items published by others. I began to map out who was who and where they were. I checked out the profiles of some of the top thought leaders and authors I already knew. I could see profiles of other people like them who people were checking out. I began taking names.
Slowly but surely the clicking led to my commenting on articles in the areas of sales strategies and personal growth. I entered into a dialogue with some of these thought leaders with whom I wanted to associate. The dialogue gave me a reason to connect with them.
I sent a personalized invite to connect with each of these new people. In the invite I referenced our interaction and, when it made sense, suggested that we had much in common. Virtually 100% of the time, my invite was accepted. I always sent a thank-you note and included a comment that would give the person a reason to reply. This opened up a personal, one-on-one dialogue.
5. Become a Thought Leader
The beauty of LinkedIn is that everyone has the ability to publish content. We all have stories and experiences that others can benefit from. I began publishing content that focused on my passion for sales and entrepreneurship. So far I have published at least forty articles. The volume of articles I have published has shifted the scale so that now people reach out to connect to me. I am increasingly being viewed as a thought leader on these subjects. In addition to contributing articles on LinkedIn’s Pulse channels, the fact that my passion has led me to write a book and produce a podcast about helping entrepreneurs and sales professionals get over their fear of selling is sufficient reason for me to be considered a thought leader to a small tribe.
This process has connected me with hundreds of thought leaders in the areas of entrepreneurship and sales.
Is there anything complicated about it?
I don’t think so. It might involve some discomfort at first, but the more it is done the easier it becomes. Give it a try, and let me know how you do.
I have compiled a detailed checklist, which I have been giving to my friends who ask how I have reinvented myself using LinkedIn. Click here if you would like a copy of it.