A Simple Step to Start Receiving Business from LinkedIn!

When I ask a new contact if they are on LinkedIn the common response I hear is yes I am but I have no idea how to use itLinkedIn is a great Social Network for business but for many people they just don’t understand what it can do for them or have any plan in place to really engage the people they are connected to.  So today I decided to talk about how I handle new contacts on LinkedIn.

For me of course it all comes down to follow up!  Follow up is the key to really get things moving on LinkedIn!  So what do I mean my follow up?

This week I set aside some time to go through my LinkedIn invites.  In the end I accepted invitations from about 100 pending connections.  After viewing each connection request I sent a simple email to each new LinkedIn connection asking them for a 20 minute meeting with the goal of learning more about them and to explore how we might be able to help each other.

Here is the email I send out:
Hi Shane!
Thank you for connecting on LinkedIn! Let’s set up a 20 minute meeting to learn more about each other and our businesses.  The goal would be to explore how we might help each other.
How does your schedule look for next week?
Alan Underkofler

My expectation is to have about 20 people accept my offer to talk on the phone and explore how we might help each other.  Taking this one follow up step with each new LinkedIn connection allows you to start a relationship which leads to new business and referrals.

So there you have it, a very simple step to start the conversation with your LinkedIn connections.  So tell me…  What do you do to maximize your connections on LinkedIn?

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Follow Up: Lessons to Learn from Obama 08

In the past week there has been a lot of buzz on the presidential election.  Many reporters were trying to figure out when the country started turning to Obama.  Many times reporters would suggest different speeches, interviews, or statements by both Obama and McCain, stating one speech made the difference or this interview really changed things, or McCain’s comment during this interview is when things started shifting.

While some of this is true, I believe Obama became the President Elect for one main reason.  Obama created a tribe of followers and created many ways for his tribe to connect with their leader!  One extreme example of the connection difference between Obama and McCain is online.  Obama’s online presence can be clearly seen by looking at his website and more importantly his hub for Social Media can be found on his blog.  Below is a snapshot of how both Obama and McCain did in regards to a few of the Social Media sites:

Looking at Social Media Sites; According to Forrester Research, Inc.:


Obama: 2,379,102 supporters
McCain: 620,359 supporters
Obama has 380% more supports than McCain


Obama: Friends, 833,161
McCain: Friends, 217,811
Obama has 380% more supporters then McCain


Obama: 1792 videos uploaded since Nov 2006, Subscribers: 114,559 (uploads about 4 a day), Channel Views: 18,413,110
McCain 329 videos uploaded since Feb 2007 (uploads about 2 a day), Subscribers: 28,419, Channel Views 2,032,993
Obama has 403% more subscribers than McCain
Obama has 905% more viewers than McCain


Obama: @barackobama has 112,424 followers
McCain: @JohnMcCain (Not sure If this is real) 4,603 followers
Obama has 240 times more followers in Twitter than McCain

Obama’s activity in Social Media sites includes: Facebook, MySpace, YouTube, Flickr, Digg, Twitter, Eventful, Linkedin, BlackPlanet, Faitbase, Eons, Glee, MiGente, MyBatanga, AsianAve, and DNC Partybuilder.  Obama created tribes within all of these social mediums.

You have to look at the last eight years to really see why this had such a huge impact.  According to Forrester Research, Inc., internet usage in the United States has grown 130.9% in the last eight years.  Of the 303,824,646 people in the United States the penetration rate for internet usage is 220,141,969 or 72.5%!

By using social media Obama created a way to communicate and follow up with his tribe.  Seth Godin’s new book Tribes talks a lot about how tribes work and the importance of a leader within the tribe.  Obama was the leader of a huge tribe of followers, fans, and most importantly voters.  Obama’s tribe showed up way before Election Day and when Election Day finally arrived it seemed the entire tribe made it to the polls!

So the question to ask yourself is: Are you doing everything you can to make it easy for your tribe to connect with you?

Are You A Multitasking Follow Up Extremist?

In an effort to follow up with new contacts and customer requests I often find myself multitasking, I am sure you can relate! Managing multiple projects and tasks is not new to me by any means. As a Sales Professional either in a corporate environment or as a business owner multitasking becomes an art! I find myself always exploring new ways to get more things done!  I tend to create new habits to squeeze just a few more minutes from my day. As with all new habits and processes we create to achieve more, sometimes it’s good to reflect on the cost these new patterns have.

Yesterday I found myself driving down the road talking on my cell phone, answering a text, switching to my email to respond to a request and just for good measure checking in on Twitter! All of this reminded me of a recent email forwarded to me from Harvard Business Publishing regarding texting while driving!

Is texting while driving really worse than driving under the influence?

A recent study by the RAC Foundation based in London found the average reaction times slowed by 35% while writing or reading texts!  Compare this to the 21% slower reaction from those who had taken cannabis and 12% slower among those who had drunk to the legal limit! A January 2007 survey by U.S.-based Nationwide Insurance suggested 19 per cent of motorists said they texted while driving.  I am sure among my network of friends and colleagues this number would increase to well over 50%!  Are you thinking to yourself…  “this is great but I am an amazing multi-tasker!”? Look at this video of Richard Westcott testing the effects of texting while driving using a simulator.

Take a moment and really think about the urge to read or respond to a text while driving.  Is it really worth the cost?  Can it wait until you arrive at your next destination?  I am all about great follow up and have definitely been known to be an extremist but even I am rethinking some of my habits in regards to multitasking.  Having reviewed the study, I think about a few close calls I have had over the last year while driving on the phone and texting, reading emails, and checking twitter.  For you this might be checking the news, sports, stock market, or the weather.  Whichever other activity you are choosing while driving, hopefully this post will allow you to reevaluate the possible cost!

Take a moment and really think about the urge to read or respond to a text while driving.  Is it really worth the cost?  Can it wait until you arrive at your next destination?  I am all about great follow up and have definitely been known to be an extremist but even I am rethinking some of my habits in regards to multitasking.  Having reviewed the study, I think about a few close calls I have had over the last year while driving on the phone and texting, reading emails, and checking twitter.  For you this might be checking the news, sports, stock market, or the weather.  Whichever other activity you are choosing while driving, hopefully this post will allow you to reevaluate the possible cost!

Twitter: Engaging Participants at Your Next Workshop or Seminar

I am relatively new to Twitter having just set up my account a few months ago. I started using it in conjunction with my Facebook account for status updates. I remember thinking what could I possibly do with a micro blog where I can only post 140 characters? It seemed like I was using two social media platforms for no good reason but I was committed to search out the value of Twitter! Twitter is a free social networking and micro-blogging service that allows users to send and read other users updates (otherwise known as tweets), which are text-based posts of up to 140 character in length. You can find out more about Twitter on Wikipedia.

The value of Twitter seemed to really present itself when I arrived at Blog World Expo. Twitter was used heavily throughout the entire conference. The organizers of Blog World created a hash code (an event code) and instructed everyone to label their micro-blogging with #bwe08 when twitting about Blog World. This was an ingenious way to keep everyone at the conference informed about schedule changes, social events, lunch, event details, and even real time class participation. (Not to mention a great marketing tool for the following year’s conference because not only could this year’s participants read the twits, but anyone on Twitter around the world could also participate. Talk about wetting someone’s appetite for future conferences. People from all over the country and world were weighing in and asking questions about sessions they couldn’t attend and didn’t pay for. How cool is that?)

So how did this make such a big difference? With everyone micro blogging using the #bwe08 you were able to search Twitter and bring up all the posts regarding Blog World. This gave me a running feed from people attending the workshop I was in as well as the many other workshops I could not make. It was like I was attending multiple workshops at the same time. On top of that most of the workshops had the feed up on the screen or created a new hash code for the workshop we were in like #cred.

As the expo continued the twitting evolved to an entire new level. Attendees started adding value to each workshop with comments, questions, and posting links to sites being discussed. The speakers and panelists of each workshop were reviewing the tweets as they showed up on the screens during the discussion. Many speakers would answer the questions real time and go into more detail based on what they were seeing.

Additionally, I can now go back and search these twits and use them as notes to remember what I learned in each session.

The end result was an amazing interaction at each workshop. A truly enlightening experience for me on how new media can make a big difference. I can’t wait for the next workshop or seminar I attend where the organizers are using twitter to interact with the participants.

I have discovered many additional uses for Twitter, future topics will include:

  • Using Twitter to enhance the customer experience
  • Large companies using Twitter to connect with their customers
  • Following up with new contacts on Twitter

How are you using Twitter? Are you or your company using Twitter to interact with clients or prospects? Become part of the conversation and add a comment on your experience with Twitter.

Tradeshows Like Blog World Expo Create Connection Explosions

I just attended The Blog World Expo in Las Vegas. My expectations were very mixed. I really had no idea what I was getting into. My goal was to meet new people, successful bloggers, and to learn how to make Follow Up Success the go-to resource for small businesses, entrepreneurs, and sales professionals.

The Expo far exceeded my expectations. I attended some amazing breakout sessions with all types of bloggers both on the panel and in the audience. I had great discussions with bloggers, companies that support bloggers, and people of all levels in the blogosphere. For example, I met people I never imagined would be there like:

A good friend of mine and fellow blogger asked me today how I was going to follow up with all the people I met. (Is she joking? Does she not read my blog?) So how am I going to follow up with all these new contacts? To start, I am going to do what I have talked about in this blog 7 Steps to Follow Up Success of course! Everyone will be getting an email from me today letting them know how much I appreciated meeting them. I will also add the social platforms I use to stay connected to people in my network; LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter. Over the next few weeks I will be calling these contacts to learn more about them and explore ways I might be able to help them.

I am still digesting all the great information from Blog World and already know this experience has made a huge impact on me. I’ll be writing about this more in the future but for now, here are just a few of the highlights that really stick out:

  • New Media – Now’s the time to ride the wave and implement new tools…you can be a pioneer, opportunities are endless.
  • Twitter – The powerful use of a new tool…ruling the top trended topics, what could this mean for your business?
  • How companies like Comcast are using social media like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter to expand the customer experience and add a new layer to customer service.
  • CNN and Twitter – CNN is using Twitter to pull in live questions and engage their viewers. How can you use this strategy in your business to engage your customers?
  • Are bloggers just crazy people with too much time on their hands? I will admit this may have been somewhere in the back of my head before attending the expo. Now I realize they are a group of professionals, entrepreneurs, corporate executives, and writers. With that in mind how can you use blogging to support your business and follow up activities?

The blog world has a space for you too!  Reading blogs, making comments on posts, or starting your own blog are great action steps to enhance your business success!   If you would like a taste of what it was like at Blog World Expo check out Ryan Hupfer’s great post and video, It’s All About The Connections: Thoughts, Highlights, And Lessons Learned From Blog World Expo 08.  Lastly, consider attending Blog World Expo 09 or BlogHer in San Francisco next year.  Both conferences get rave reviews.   They are well worth the reasonable registration fees…which by the way are discounted if you twitter.  The expo was a rich experience for me and I enjoyed it so much I might just offer to speak myself next year.  We’ll see.