Today I happened to come across another blog post outlining some “best practices” for using LinkedIn. There are a plenty of these types of articles on the web (this morning Google is returning 29,500 results for “linkedin best practices” ) and in general they contain helpful information – optimizing your profile, joining groups, etc. Whenever I read one of these articles I’m surprised by what’s not on the list:
Maybe “just ask” seems too obvious to make a best practices list, but I find that one of the biggest obstacles professionals face related to referrals, or networking in general, is being hesitant to ask for help. LinkedIn is full of members who are more than willing to help but very few of them are able to read minds, so don’t be afraid to ask. Here are a few ways to ask on LinkedIn
Ask for recommendations when you are looking purchase, invest, or hire. Don’t think your request is too small. I have a friend that asked for recommendations of a place to hold a luncheon event and in just a couple of hours she received half a dozen suggestions and booked one of the recommended venues.
Ask how you can help them. You most likely have a lot of people in your network, all of whom have wonderful knowledge and skills. Let people know you have access to these great people and ask if you can help them address any of their needs by introducing them to someone in your network.
Ask for introductions to specific people. After identifying someone you would like to meet, see who in your network is connected to them and ask for an introduction. Make it easy for the person introducing you – let them know how you would like to be introduced and why you would like to meet that person.
Bill Brelsford Small Business Marketing Consultant