I’ve been teaching LinkedIn sales and marketing techniques and methodologies (and overall social sales strategies) for nearly 10 years now. I’ll be so obvious to state that a lot has changed during this time, but perhaps more importantly, even more has stayed the same.
I recently got an email with questions from one of the Sales Reps that I coach, asking a few vital questions.
The questions read as follows:
- Is there any way to keep possible competitors from stealing/directly contacting my prospects and customers by looking through my LinkedIn connections?
- If not, are there any stop gaps to prevent anybody from simply stealing contacts?
- Are there things we can do to prevent this?
As I read the questions, they made sense and I knew exactly what was being asked. But I realized, in this instance, that some of the folks applying these strategies are missing the primary and focal point of all LinkedIn interactions – relationship building.
Relationship Building is the Key to Social Selling
Now, this is not to be critical of the person who sent this to me but to address the broader issue of losing big-picture focus when we’re engaging others through the social selling process.
As I typed out my response, it came out very direct, perhaps even blunt. I looked at it, I gave it much more thought and finally decided that it was important that I addressed this excellent set of questions very sincerely. Below is my response:
Tricky question, but I’ll answer it very directly – yes, there is something that is the answer you’re looking for – it is a strong relationship. Seriously, that’s about it. Anyone can access any information (contact’s name, title, email, etc.) in today’s world. Relationships are the only thing AND the most powerful thing.
Nurture them, get to know your contacts, give to them, pay it forward and that becomes your ultimate protection.
In this world of whiz-bang technology and information
overload, no one is at a loss for information. Assume that all of your
competition has access to all of the names and all the contacts, all the email
addresses of all of your customers and prospects. How do you protect against that?
As I stated in my response, it’s all about the relationships that we develop, nurture and foster. When you know more about your prospects and customers, when you serve them more actively and more thoughtfully and provide them with value – such as helpful resources, information, great ideas, insights, even entertainment or perhaps a few laughs, you’re going the extra mile, and that will not go unnoticed.
The name of the game is still know, like and trust. That has not changed and probably never will. He who cares most wins.
Be Sure to Protect Your Contacts
So the next time you send out an InMail, an email, a connection request or comment on someone’s post, be sure to remember there’s an actual, living and breathing, human being on the other side of the glowing screen. People remember how you make them feel. … Now you know the secret to protecting your contacts.