Social Media for B2B Sales Series: Cultivate Existing Relationships

This is the fourth of four series on social media for business to business sales.  In my previous posts, I discussed how to find targeted prospective decision makers, how to network with targeted contacts and how to build a reputation as an expert on Linkedin.   In this post, I’ll go over how to cultivate existing relationships on Linkedin:

  1. Find targeted prospective decision makers
  2. Network with targeted contacts
  3. Build a Reputation as an Expert
  4. Cultivate Existing Relationships

I just logged into my Linkedin account and see that I have over 4,300 connections.  No, I do not know all of them personally.  So, how do I cultivate my relationships?  What’s the point of “networking” and being “connected” if I don’t know who I’m networking with?

First, I’ll mention that not everybody takes the same strategy with social media.  While some people keep their network close and tight knit, others network with anyone and everyone.  When I first started building my Linkedin network, I realized that the more connections that I have, the more successful my search results become for key contacts in my extended network.  For example, if you are only connected to three people and you want to search for someone in a specific job title, say “Real Estate Agent within a 50 mile radius of you,” you may not even be able to find a contact, or, you may find only a small handful.  But, if you are connected to 500 people and do a search, your search result may deliver a list of over 100 results.  And, if you are prospecting, you know very well that it’s a numbers game.  So, that’s why I personally have done all I can to grow my network, regardless of if I know someone or not.

Now, I’ll discuss a few ways get to know such a vast network of contacts.

1.  Meet with your contacts

Yes, meet with them.  No, not all 4,000 of them.  But, start somewhere.  Choose a filter system and give priority to the people you want to meet with.  Make a commitment to meet with a certain number per week.  Let’s say you can spare 1 coffee meeting per day.  So, send out messages to a handful of contacts each week trying to schedule a coffee meeting.  Then, get to know them.

If you have a local networking group, you may also invite your connections to attend your networking group’s meetings?  This also allows you to hopefully meet more of your members at one time rather than having to meet with each of them individually.  It also helps to promote your networking group.

2.  Share your Blog Posts 

There are a few ways you can do this.

  • You can update your status and include a link to your blog post:

  • You can send a direct message to all of your Linkedin connections.  

Keep in mind, Linkedin only allows you to send a message to 50 connections at a time.  So, you would need to compose your message, select 50 recipients, send it and start over again to another batch of 50 until you’ve sent your message to everyone.  Also, to help with your connections’ privacy, be sure to “uncheck” the box in your message screen allowing recipients to see each other’s names and email addresses:

  • Comment on your connections’ status updates

  •  Ask a Question or Create a Poll

It’s always good to survey people to know what they want and what they are looking for.  After all, you want your blog to deliver content that your followers are interested in. A great way to find out is by asking.  You can ask a question on Linkedin that will be listed on their public “Answers” board and also forward that link to your connections to answer.  You may also take a survey / poll.  To do this, you would need to add the “Poll” application on Linkedin.

Ask a Question:

Adding the Polls Application: 

Now, keep in mind the purpose of this post is to help you understand how to cultivate your existing relationships.  Try not to be “salesy” in your approach.  Don’t pitch and sell when you post content.  Try to provide value and good information that your connections will appreciate.

This is a lot of work and could take a healthy amount of time from your workday.  So, plan ahead.  Select which activities you want to do and block out time once a week or once a month for one or two of the activities.

What other ways are you using Social Media to cultivate your relationships?  Please do share.

 

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About Sinnary

Sinnary Sam is a marketing professional specializing in Prospect Marketing Events. She works from home part time and manages her four daughters' busy school and sports schedules.

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2 Responses to Social Media for B2B Sales Series: Cultivate Existing Relationships

  1. Greta Boris December 6, 2012 at 5:45 pm #

    It’s just such a lot of work! Sigh. No complaining.

  2. Sinnary December 6, 2012 at 5:59 pm #

    Yes it is Greta, I agree. You have to pick and choose what you’re good at or what you like doing. Don’t do it all.

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