We work every day to develop new business relationships with the hope and expectation that our courting of a prospect will lead to big things. It’s been said repeatedly that new business is the lifeblood of any organization. That’s true, but what about those relationships you developed in a previous role, position or company?
Think about it. How much time does it take to cultivate a new relationship? Days? Months? Maybe a year? Now think about the time you spent getting to know a previous client or colleague. Days? Months? Maybe a year? What’s the difference? With a prior client or colleague, you’ve already invested the time. With a new prospect, you’re starting from scratch. That’s why reconnections are invaluable because the work has already been done.
What does it take to reconnect and rekindle the flame that existed? Not much really. With LinkedIn, you simply search for the person, request to connect, they accept and you’re off to the races. How valuable is this? Invaluable. Here are two personal examples of successful reconnecting:
Over 10 years ago I spent time getting to know my client in the financial services sector. He was a significant player in the organization. We hit it off immediately having several outside of work and family activities in common. Eventually, we both moved on from our respective employers and lost touch. Fast forward to 5 years ago when I reconnected with him via LinkedIn. He had no idea where I was although I heard through mutual contacts about his journey. We rekindled the relationship. He’d see my LinkedIn postings (very important), read my monthly newsletter and we’d speak to each other every few months.
One day he called to tell me he’d moved on to a large energy company in the Midwest. He said, “I’d like to introduce you to the folks here”. You guessed it. This reconnection led to my company exponentially propelling itself forward as I was hired as a consultant for my former colleagues’ new organization.
Over 25 years ago I worked for a regional ad agency in upstate New York. Minus the snow, it was a great place to work. While there, I worked with several wonderful individuals including the Director of HR. She and I were in parallel roles within the organization and we enjoyed working with each other. We both moved on to pursue other opportunities and lost touch. Five years ago we reconnected on LinkedIn. We really didn’t do much beyond that but she was repeatedly exposed to my LinkedIn status updates (again, very important).
Last week she messaged me via LinkedIn. “I’ve moved on to an agency in Saratoga Springs, NY and we just picked up a large healthcare account. Interested in helping with media planning and placement?” No exaggeration. Three days later I was actively involved with her huge new healthcare client and further growing my business.
What’s the moral of this story? It’s actually pretty simple. LinkedIn’s an essential tool to prospect and socially sell. It is even more valuable as a reconnection tool. Try it. You’ll like it… a lot!
Ira Bass is CEO of IB Media LLC, (www.IBMedia.biz) a nationally recognized media planning and buying agency that was built from scratch in 2007 via the strategic use of LinkedIn. He has planned and placed all forms of media for international, national, regional and local marketers for over 35 years. Sharing his knowledge of LinkedIn is now an additional service offered by IB Media LLC. For more information about our media and LinkedIn training services, check out Ira’s LinkedIn profile at www.LinkedIn.com/in/IBMedia or drop him a note at IraBass@IBMedia.biz. Ira is a LION. Please feel free to connect or follow him on LinkedIn. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook or Google+.