3 Weekly Habits That Soared My Business Beyond Expectations

by | 10 Apr 24

Kicking off a new business at the start of 2023, in a market that was completely new to me, stirred up a cocktail of emotions – exhilaration mixed with a fair bit of fear. It was a leap into the unknown, and I won’t lie, it had my heart racing more than a bit.

Deciding to give social media a proper go, especially LinkedIn, turned out to be one of those decisions that felt right. Now, I’ve never been one to jump out of bed in the morning, thrilled at the prospect of making sales. But, being a (pretty much) life-long small business owner, I know that sales aren’t just important; they’re the lifeline of a successful venture. LinkedIn beckoned for a couple of reasons:

  • It’s where my ideal customers seemed to be.
  • It’s a goldmine for networking.

The second point really tipped the scales for me. You see, selling doesn’t come naturally to me. In my previous ventures, sales usually came through introductions made by my network, a network that, unfortunately, wasn’t going to be much help in this new chapter.

Starting from scratch meant building a new network from the ground up, and LinkedIn seemed like the perfect playground for that.

In this blog, I’m eager to share three habits I’ve woven into my weekly routine and the surprising two outcomes they’ve brought. Honestly, I was betting on sales being the sole benefit of this strategy. But, networking turned out to have a broader impact, stretching beyond just clinching deals. This wider effect has been just as crucial for the success of my fledgeling business.

Table of Contents

Use these links to jump straight to the part of the article that interests you most.

> The 2 Outcomes
> I’m Sorry
> The 3 Habits
> Habit 1: Send Connection Requests
> Habit 2: Post About Problems
> Habit 3: Ask For Meetings
> Just To Stress

The 2 Outcomes

Starting out on LinkedIn, I honestly thought it was just a shortcut to boosting sales. And here’s the full truth: I made loads of mistakes at first. From January to April 2023, I was that person who’d send you a connection request and then immediately follow up with a message asking if you were struggling with X, Y, Z. Yep, I was the connect and pitch guy!

The outcome? Utterly zilch. Not to mention, I received some blisteringly honest feedback.

It wasn’t that I had any ill intentions towards the people I was connecting with. I was just trying my hand at leveraging LinkedIn as a sales platform, and well, I bumbled it. I had to learn from those blunders!

The learning curve wasn’t steep, thanks to the honest feedback from some of my new connections. It was clear my initial approach was a no-go. Time to work out a new course.

Easier said than done, though. Figuring out a new strategy involved a fair bit of trial and error. I tweaked how I connected with people and what I did once we were connected. With each change, the frosty responses dwindled, and my connection rates started looking up.

Anytime I got feedback, I listened, tried something different, and kept refining my approach.

Come May 2023, things finally clicked into place. My network was growing with people I genuinely could help, and I wasn’t stepping on anyone’s toes in the process.

What’s more, I found myself landing about five meetings a week through these connections. But the thing is, it wasn’t just sales coming through the door. I did (and do get sales through these meetings) but I was also meeting with people who could lend me a hand. Some offered their products or services directly – often saving me money and time – while others introduced me to people who could help tackle the challenges I had.

And there it was, the two golden outcomes of this networking adventure:

  1. cutting costs
  2. ramping up sales

For anyone running a small business, keeping an eye on reducing expenses and increasing revenue are the bread and butter for staying afloat, at least in my book. It’s been quite the ride, and to think, it all started with a few months of missteps on LinkedIn!

I’m Sorry

If you’re scrolling through this bit and you just so happen to be one of the folks I reached out to between January and April 2023, I owe you an apology. Turns out, you were caught in the crossfire of what I can only describe as my less-than-stellar strategy or, shall we say, my attempts at experimentation to nail down how to do this whole thing properly.

I’ve actually had the chance to catch up with a few of these individuals over Zoom calls. Yes, I went ahead – cap in hand – and dropped them a message, asking if they’d fancy a chat. Not many took me up on the offer – can’t blame them really. I was that “connect and pitch-slap” person they’d probably much rather forget. However, for the lovely souls who did agree to speak with me, it meant the world to me.

It allowed me to say sorry and express my gratitude for them giving me a moment of their time to explain. Reflecting on those conversations, it’s a reminder of the importance of approaching connections with genuine intent and understanding.

The 3 Habits

If you’re keen on cutting down your operational costs for your small business while also sniffing out some sales opportunities, I’ve got a bit of advice. Set aside some time in your calendar, be it daily or weekly, to tackle these three actions.

  1. Send out personalised connection requests every day.
  2. Share posts about the issues you can solve – and do it regularly.
  3. Dedicate half an hour each week to ask for networking meetings.

I’m going to walk you through how to get cracking on these three steps below.

1: Send Connection Requests

Did you know LinkedIn puts a cap on how many connection requests you can send out each week?

It’s something between 100 to 200, depending on how active you are on there. Now, regardless of what your limit is, you need to make full use of it every single week. You need to get your name out there in your industry and market. The more people who know you, the better.

But wait a minute, don’t just go firing off connection requests left, right, and centre. You’ve got to add a personal touch with a note.

And trust me, there are a few crucial bits you need to include in that note. I learned the hard way, as I’ve mentioned above, and received my fair share of not-so-pleasant feedback.

Here’s a straightforward framework I’ve put together that really turned things around for me—the ‘PCN’ Connection Request Framework.

I’m not about to hand you a bland, one-size-fits-all template. That just wouldn’t do justice to you or the people you’re connecting with. What I am sharing is a bit of a blueprint that’ll help you write a connection request note that genuinely aims to connect, rather than sell.

Alright, here we go, the ‘PCN’ framework:

  • Personalised Proposition: Address the recipient by their name, make it personal and friendly.
  • Commonality Confirmation: Mention a shared interest or connection that justifies the LinkedIn connection.
  • Non-Sales Notification: Assure that the connection request is not just for sales or pitching purposes, but for genuine networking and knowledge sharing.

And that’s it. Three simple sentences that could really boost your LinkedIn connections. It’s all about making those genuine connections, and who knows where they might lead?

2: Post About Problems

Alright, I’ve got a little nugget of advice for you. Figure out how often you think you can post on LinkedIn, and then stick to it like glue. Say, if you believe you can manage 3 posts a week, hold yourself to it. Carve out 10 minutes on those three days in your diary to sit down, craft a post, and get it out there.

Now, here’s the crucial bit – avoid turning every post into a sales pitch or an ad for what you’re selling. For example, if you want to post about a great new feature you’ve just released in your software, or maybe a service you’re to sell more of: First, pause and think about the problem your customer is facing that your feature or service could solve.

That’s what you write about. That’s what you post. Write about the problem you solve, not the feature you’ve built.

Talk about how you know about this problem, share tales of working with people who’ve faced this very issue, and talk about what happens if it goes unsolved. Doing this makes your posts resonate with your readers on a deeper level.

And here’s a bonus tip: shake things up with your content types. Try your hand at plain text posts, add some images, throw in a few polls, maybe even a carousel or video here and there. There’s no need to stress about trying all these formats out, but dabbling in the ones you feel comfortable with keeps your content lively and engaging.

3: Ask For Meetings

This next bit is crucial, honestly, it’s the crown jewel among the three tips I’ve shared. I’m not saying the others aren’t important, but this one? It’s the main task that will help reach those outcomes I mentioned at the start of this blog.

So, go ahead and block out 30 minutes in your diary to ask for meetings every week. Honestly, go and do that right now. Make it a recurring appointment every week. Here’s what you’ll be doing in that 30 minutes each week:

First things first, grab your list of LinkedIn connections. Hubspot has this good guide on how to export your connections list.

Now, sift through that list and pick out folks who’ve been in your circle for about 3 weeks or so – think 21 to 28 days. Then, go to your LinkedIn messages and ask for a meeting with each of these people you’ve identified in your exported list.

But hold up, don’t just fire off a bland meeting request. You’ve got to include some important key details.

Much like we did with the connection requests, there’s a framework here too that’ll pave the way for a smoother conversation and better chances at pinning down that meeting.

Here it is, the ‘DNB’ Meeting Request Message blueprint:

  1. Delay Disclosure: Kick things off by letting them know why you’re messaging them now. It’s a nod to their busy life and shows you’re not just lounging around.
  2. No-Sales Notification: Stress, yet again, that you’re not here to pitch anything. It’s all about networking, pure and simple.
  3. Busy Buffer: Mention you’re quite tied up for the next few weeks (because I’m sure you are) but would love to have a 30-minute virtual chat after that.

And there you go, three simple sentences that could well open up a pathway to a fruitful conversation and, fingers crossed, a meeting. It’s all about making genuine connections, and who knows where these new relationships might lead?

Just To Stress

Just to make it crystal clear, the whole point of setting up that meeting is to network!

When you’re in the meeting, having a chat, you should have a few standard questions ready that help you understand if that person has a problem you can help solve.

If it turns out they do, then by all means ask them if they would like another meeting to discuss. Do not pitch in this meeting! This get-together is all about networking.

Don’t forget to flip the script too. Get curious about what they’re up to. What’s the story behind their product or service? Maybe there’s a gap they can fill for you. Ask them about the tech or systems they use. It’s a cracking way to stumble upon solutions that might be better and possibly cheaper than what you’re currently using. And offer the same back, you might be able to help them find better tech and services.

These chats are golden. They’re not just about potentially trimming down costs or finding ways to boost your sales. They’re also about learning, and growing for both of you in the meeting.

It’s a win-win situation through and through.

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