What I learned from my taxi driver

July 29, 2010

Last week I went to Mountain View, California to visit LinkedIn HQ to discuss the progress of the LinkedIn Live program.

I was picked up at the San Francisco airport by a very friendly man. His name is Judge and his company is called RJ Travels.

On the road to the hotel we were talking about LinkedIn (which is one of his irregular customers) and how he could use their website to get more customers.

The first step is to start with the question: “who do you want as a customer?”. The easiest approach is to start with your current clientele.

My assumption was that the people who called him the most were management assistants and secretaries to arrange pick ups for their bosses, colleagues, customers and suppliers. To my surprise it was a total different function that hired him the most: recruiters. Lesson learned: never assume anything: ask and talk first!

In Silicon Valley they want the brightest people to work for them and they fly them in for job interviews. Hence they need transport from the airport.

Since Judge is a very nice man who provides excellent service his business keeps growing. What happens is that the candidates who were hired now also call him when they need to go to the airport. A good example of how good customer service automatically leads to more business.

Being hired again is also a sign of satisfaction and hence you can ask for referrals.

So what I adviced Judge to do is to use the following strategy to use LinkedIn to find new customers:

1) next time you pick up one of the LinkedIn people who have already used your services in the past, ask if they want to connect on LinkedIn (since it is their own website they will be very interested to have a conversation about it as well)
2) after you are connected with them, look in their network for recruiters, secretaries and management assistants you don’t know yet
3) ask the “middle man” to introduce the both of you to each other via email (this is what I call the “Magic Email”) or via LinkedIn

If a cab driver can use LinkedIn to find the right people to grow his business, so can you. The most important point is where you start: what is the profile of customers you want. Thanks Judge for my lesson to never assume I think I already know the answer !

To your success !


PS: get your free light version and free updates of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)


“A LinkedIn Profile is Necessary to Be Considered as a Potential Candidate”

July 22, 2010

That is not what we say at Networking Coach (although it also applies), but at Deloitte in the Netherlands.

This quote is one of the many interesting things I heard from Roos Van Vugt, manager e-recruitment Deloitte Netherlands, in her presentation at a LinkedIn breakfast session in Amsterdam.

Why is this so interesting? Because in discussions with managers many times I hear that they don’t want their employees to be on LinkedIn.

The reason?

They might get hired by another company.

My response to this is dual:

1) you can restrict access to websites like LinkedIn and Facebook during working hours, but anyone can join these networks in their spare time. So that’s not really a solution.

2) why don’t you put more effort in making/keeping people happy so they don’t want to leave your company, even if they are approached by headhunters? Interesting enough the managers who fear their employees leaving are most of the times the ones who don’t give enough attention to their team or micromanage them. Or in other words show the behaviour that scares people away anyway.

Deloitte takes a completely opposite approach: they not only encourage people to use LinkedIn, but even train their employees how they can contribute to achieving the goals of the recruitment team using LinkedIn.

At Networking Coach we also see this trend: more and more we are hired to train the so called “Hiring Managers” how they can use LinkedIn to find the right people for their team.

By the way, Deloitte doesn’t only use LinkedIn for recruitment, but also Twitter, Hyves and Facebook. Next to that they also had an IPhone application made.

It is interesting to see how through the efforts of the recruitment team, the image of Deloitte is changing. From a “dusty” and “only for number chrunchers” company they are now almost a hip and trendy company. This is a nice example of how social media works on different levels.

Look at their website www.werkenbijdeloitte.nl for more inspiration and examples.

Have a great networking day !


PS: get your free light version and free updates of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)

Why does LinkedIn tell me there is a website in my invitation while there isn’t any?

July 15, 2010

This week just a small LinkedIn tip, but one that has caused many people lots of frustration.

When you send out an invitation, you sometimes receive the notification: “You can’t use websites (URL’s)”.

When you then look at your message, you don’t see any website.

So, what causes this remark?

The fact that there is no space behind a point. For example. Hello Dan, nice to see you on this website.Do you remember the time when …

There is no space between website and Do and hence LinkedIn thinks it is a website.

So just mind the normal punctuation and everything will be fine.

To your success !


PS: get your free light version and free updates of the book How to REALLY use LinkedIn (or in Dutch: het boek Hoe LinkedIn nu ECHT gebruiken)

7 Types Of Conditioning that Might Destroy Your Networking Results

July 8, 2010

I wrote in my blog post of last week that according to Donna Fisher there are 7 types of conditioning that can influence your networking effectiveness without you even realizing it. This is an overview of these 7 types and an invitation to look at them in a different way.

“Don’t talk to strangers”

This is wise advice for a small child who doesn’t know how to make the distinction between right or wrong. However, as an adult, the situation is different. Talking to people you haven’t met before opens the doors to a wide variety of opportunities.

“Be strong”

Some people think being strong means not asking for help, doing everything on their own and being other people’s saviour or hero. But “being strong” really means is knowing what you want and asking others to help you reach your goals.

“Be a big boy” or “Be a big girl”

Too many people confuse being childlike (and being play- and joyful) with being childish. The enthusiasm of a child is a great character trait at any age!

“You can’t trust others”

Most of us have one or more negative experiences with misplaced trust. This may have been very painful and it can also be the reason for never trusting anyone again. However, a life of not trusting is not much of a life. Learn to bring people who are worthy of your trust in your network and be trustworthy yourself.

“Don’t bother that person”

If you were ever told not to bother people, this thought may have been internalised as “You are a bother” or “What you want is not important” or “Others are more important”. And this internal belief could prohibit you unconsciously to contact others. But you are not a bother. People are only a bother when they are selfish or inappropriate with their words, timing, actions or behaviours. It’s OK to call people. People want to contribute. And especially when you can call on them in such a way that they feel acknowledged and included. They will be happy to help you.

“Don’t depend on others”

If you heard this as a child, this probably came from the mouth of someone who had a painful encounter with misplaced trust. However it is good advice if it means that you should take your life in your own hands instead of depending on parents, a partner or social security. You don’t have to fully rely on others. But I encourage you to have an interdependent attitude. Look for ways you can help others and how they can help you.

“Don’t let yourself be hurt”

This is also probably the reaction of someone who has been hurt by someone else and is reluctant to trust other people. But no matter what you do, you can’t protect yourself from ever getting hurt, disappointed or misunderstood again. But when you give with no strings attached, without conditions and without expecting anything in return, you cannot be “used”. You run the risk of feeling used when you give more than you can afford to give (financially, mentally or emotionally) and you expect or even need something in return. Give only what you can afford to give and feel good about giving.

So when these conditioned phrases come into your mind, take a step back and think of what really is going on.

To your success !


PS: this is an excerpt from my book “Let’s Connect!” which offers more detailed ways how to deal with these 7 types. You can download a free light version of the networking book Let’s Connect in English (or het netwerk boek Let’s Connect in Dutch)

Is Your Conditioning Working Against You in Networking?

July 1, 2010

I have been posting so many tips about LinkedIn lately that we might forget that the real power of networking is in the combination of online and offline networking.

Before you start (or continue) networking, your attitude towards networking determines the degree of your “success”. Your attitude is your foundation. However, only few people are aware of their attitude towards networking. What about you? Are you aware of how you feel about networking?

Throughout her book “People Power” networking expert Donna Fisher points out several mental barriers to networking. Most people don’t realise they have them. So carefully read the list. If you recognize any of the following thinking patterns, you might find that they limit your networking abilities:

• They probably don’t have time to…
• They wouldn’t want to…
• I don’t need anyone’s help
• I can do this by myself
• I know what needs to be done here
• I don’t want to bother people
• I can’t call her: she’s too busy
• I don’t know them well enough to call them
• People will think I’m weak/needy/stupid if I approach them about this
• I should be smart enough to figure this out by myself
• I have no right to expect others to help me out
• They probably don’t know anyone who could help me
• I don’t want them to realize I need help with this
• I don’t want them to know I don’t know how to handle this

Where do these inhibitions come from?

In life we are conditioned by the culture we live in and by the people who surround us. In our early years we can’t choose, our parents choose for us. And mostly without doing it intentionally, next to positive values and beliefs, they pass on certain values or beliefs that prohibit you, me and many other people from networking optimally.

Still according to Fisher there are 7 types of conditioning that can influence your networking effectiveness without you even realizing it. This is an overview of these 7 types:

• “Don’t talk to strangers”
• “Be strong”
• “Be a big boy” or “Be a big girl”
• “You can’t trust others”
• “Don’t bother that person”
• “Don’t depend on others”
• “Don’t let yourself be hurt”

In next week’s post I will give more insight in how this conditioning works against us and what to do about it.

Have a great networking week !


PS: this is an excerpt from my book “Let’s Connect!”. Download a free light version of this networking book in English or in Dutch.

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