I recently did some analysis of where my sales and leads have come from.
When you do this, you can see the pathways that clients take to reach you.
Regular analysis like this helps you find new ways to attract more people along the same pathway, or find additional pathways to enable growth.
I wrote about a similar activity in the LinkedIn Weekly Review article:
90% of sales started out as a first degree connection on LinkedIn.
The connection came first.
Then they interacted with my content - numerous times - liking, commenting, sharing, attending webinars, and consuming other pieces of content.
But without that first connection, they may never have stumbled across my messaging and offer to help them build the systems and mindset required for launching a visible data brand that consistently attracts data-focused projects and clients.
As you can see, connections are an important link in the chain connecting you to potential opportunities.
Recently, I reached out to someone to connect and they sent a polite refusal.
“Hi Dylan, thanks for the connection request but it’s a no at this time. I’m keeping my connections focused only on people I have directly worked with or know socially, no offense. I’m simply following LinkedIn guidelines and trying to keep my network for people I know”.
And this is quite common, right?
Because not everyone will accept your connections, or indeed, send connections to ‘strangers’.
If you look around on LinkedIn, many people only have a few hundred connections, including many consultants that I meet on my breakthrough calls.
But here’s the thing...
That may make sense as an employee, but not as a data consultant or business owner.
If you’re a data consultant, or thinking of becoming a data consultant, and are desperately trying to figure out how to find clients and grow your business, you’ve got to ignore the LinkedIn advice on their website:
"LinkedIn is built on the foundation of people connecting to other professionals they know and trust...by connecting to only those who you know and trust, you'll better ensure you're protecting your employment information and sharing it with people who will find it relevant. “ - LinkedIn Advisory
I think that’s the strangest advice ever.
If people want to see your employment information, they can find it on Google by putting your name into the search bar; unless you've blocked your profile, the whole planet can see where you've worked.
So the LinkedIn advice really makes no sense, but clearly, some people are still following it.
I believe it’s the wrong strategy.
Instead, actively grow your network every day.
Identify who your ideal audience is and seek to build a trusted connection.
But don't spam, that's flawed, a numbers game, and hugely demotivating.
You’ll be breaking trust with 99.9% of your reachable audience, just to reach that one prospect who may take a call.
I get data vendors pitching me products every day for enterprise data warehouse solutions and all manner of big-ticket data items, which is ridiculous given the size of our team.
When you get cold-pitched like this - are you going to refer those vendors to your trusted connections?
Instead, build trusted relationships and serve your audience with great insights.
When they need your help, or others in their sphere of influence need help, you'll be front of mind.
Plus, they will already know, like and trust you, so the sales cycle will be shorter and you’ll get less pushback on fees because they will have seen the value you can generate.
So every time you make a connection, the chances of attracting, converting and delivering to a new client, will increase.
And don’t forget, for many small data consulting businesses, 2-3 new clients a year can be the difference between an average year, and a stellar year.
If you keep your network small, you face a much bigger challenge for getting your content noticed and having a knockout year.
But remember, even if your network is huge, unless you're serving your audience with…
A pipeline of content that consistenly adds value
A presence that differentiates and cuts through the noise of competition
A defined set of processes to nurture engagement
A simple and compelling proposition
...your chances of attracting clients are limited.
Don’t just punt content out into the ether on a wing and a prayer, then get dejected when nothing comes back, put a strategy in place and constantly refine, pivot and adapt to the response and needs of your market.
If you persevere, the results will come.
Want to start attracting more clients to your data management consultancy or business?
Book your free breakthrough call today (spaces are limited).
We’ll analyse your present strategy, identify the obstacles you need to overcome, and give you a plan of action for moving forward in 2019 and beyond.