9 Ways to Bring Value to Your Network

November 2, 2015

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The only proven way to build social selling skills is to build relationships and create social capital. Of course, LinkedIn is a great place to do that. It allows you to become a strategic advisor and trusted consultant for your network. We’d like to challenge you to think about how you can bring the greatest amount of value to your personal network of LinkedIn connections.

Maybe you have expertise your connections don’t have, maybe you can listen and solve problems or maybe you have a unique perspective or background on a subject of interest to them. There are lots of ways you can bring value to your network.

In Bob Berg’s great book The Go-Giver, he points out that, contrary to popular belief, it is not the go-getters who achieve the most success—it’s the go-givers. The ones who make the most deposits in their network end up making the most deposits in their bank account.

The go-getters run around frantically trying to grab their piece of the pie, while the go-givers realize that by helping other people get what they want, they will build the relationships and social capital to get what they want. This is true of the most successful businesspeople on the planet.

Some people think that giving to others is a sacrifice. However, David Sandler, the founder of our company, pointed out that it is not a sacrifice to trade something of lesser value for something of greater value. That’s called an investment. There is actually a quantifiable return on giving. By giving more, you get more.

In his essay “Compensation,” Ralph Waldo Emerson says that each person is compensated in a manner consistent with the way in which he or she has contributed. That principle is proven every day on the LinkedIn platform.

What are some specific ways you can give value to your social network? Here’s a list to get you started:

  1. You can give (reality-based) testimonials and recommendations to others.
  2. You can share your expertise and write helpful articles.
  3. You can be a curator of great ideas and share others’ expertise.
  4. You can make introductions for other people to help them get or give help.
  5. You can like and share things that people in your network will care about and post.
  6. You can invest your time in them, take them to lunch or even just listen.
  7. You can form strategic alliances by sharing share someone’s most helpful piece of information with your network.
  8. You can answer questions, give feedback and share an article specific to someone’s unique challenges.
  9. You can cultivate a LinkedIn group for people with a specific interest or facing a specific challenge.

The possibilities really are endless … if you’re looking at the relationship with a giving attitude.

There is one caveat. You must remember that the bottom line of all this activity is going to the bank. While you’re doing all this giving, you have to constantly keep your antenna up for a sales opportunity.

Luck, as the saying goes, is preparation meeting opportunity. While you are preparing your networking and building relationships, you still have to recognize opportunity and take advantage of it. If you run into a prospect who is ready to buy or who mentions a problem that you know you can solve, don’t wait. That is the time to transition your relationship-building into a selling opportunity.

In a nutshell: Use LinkedIn to add value daily to the people in your online network – while at the same time keeping an eye out for sales opportunities.

To learn more about how to leverage your network on LinkedIn, download our eBook "LinkedIn the Sandler Way: 25 Secrets that Show Salespeople the World’s Largest Professional Network".

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