Welcome back to our guest post series!
Please welcome this month’s guest, Madalena Zampaulo, Spanish and Portuguese-to-English translator.
How To Cultivate Business Relationships
Using LinkedIn Messaging
Just about everyone these days knows of LinkedIn as a social media platform for business professionals. The difference between LinkedIn and other social media sites is that people are on LinkedIn to do business. It’s expected. It’s meant for professionals.
As a translator who uses LinkedIn to market my business, I tend to spend my time on using the Messaging function, i.e. my LinkedIn inbox. I don’t post a lot of content on LinkedIn, as I find that it’s hard for me to keep up with this practice. I also don’t want what I share to get lost in people’s news feeds. Instead, I pay more attention to what my potential clients post. I hang out in discussion groups and observe the questions and ideas shared, offering some thoughts now and then when I can provide value.
But the real work happens in the conversations I have with current and potential clients through LinkedIn Messaging.
When your message lands in a client’s inbox, you already have a foot in the door with someone you’d like to do business with. Meaningful interactions with clients allow you to build ongoing business relationships.
Here are my four tips to do just that.
Make the right connections on LinkedIn.
Try to connect with people who would be most likely to hire you. For example, if you are a legal translator, you might want to connect with more legal assistants and court clerks. This allows you to be in touch with the person whose job it is to make purchasing decisions.
Connect to more than one person at a company or organization. This not only spreads the word about your expertise throughout the company, but it allows you to maintain contact with the company or organization if one of your connections moves to another position or changes jobs.
Save the selling for another time and place.
Having a conversation with your connections on LinkedIn is about building relationships, not about selling. Instead of pitching your services, offer value in other ways. (More on this in my next tip!)
When it seems like a connection would like to do business with you, take the conversation offline and present your services in a more direct way.
Use the time you have to say something meaningful.
Remember that you don’t have a lot of time to connect with potential clients on LinkedIn. When busy professionals use the platform, they tend to check their inboxes and browse their news feeds quickly before getting back to work. What you say and the intention behind your messages should clearly convey value and compel them to continue having a conversation with you.
When you send a request to connect with someone new on LinkedIn, always include a tailored message. If the recipient doesn’t know you already, they’ll be less likely to accept your request unless you tell them why you think it’s important to connect.
Continue to build your credibility and relationship by following up with your connections! When someone accepts your connection request, send them a quick thank-you note. This is easy to do, but few people do it!
You can also set Google Alerts for those contacts you want to build longlasting relationships with. When you receive a Google Alert about a connection who has recently accomplished something new, changed positions, or written an article, take a few minutes to write a congratulatory note. Pretty simple, right?
Continue to provide value over time.
In addition to setting Google Alerts for your potential and current clients, take a few minutes each day to write to a few people on LinkedIn and say hello. Include something extra in your message so they see your professionalism and the care you put into maintaining an ongoing relationship with them. This also gives you something more to say than simply “hello.” 😉
Some useful content to share with LinkedIn connections are:
- A relevant article they might enjoy.
- A blog post or article you have written.
- The link to a presentation you recently gave.
- A congratulatory note.
- Information about an upcoming event.
Your LinkedIn inbox is a very powerful place to hang out. In fact, I’d venture to say LinkedIn should be high on the priority list for any translator or interpreter when it comes to marketing strategies.
LinkedIn makes it easy to stay in touch. And once you send someone a LinkedIn message, they’ll receive the notification in their email inbox. Connect regularly with those you’d like to cultivate relationships with, and make this a regular practice in your work week.
Stay informed about what your connections are doing as well. When you show you are paying attention, the conversations you have with your connections will flow more naturally. You’ll be adding to your client base before you know it!
About the author
Madalena Sánchez Zampaulo is a Spanish-to-English and Portuguese-to-English medical and life sciences translator. She also owns a small translation agency, Accessible Translation Solutions. She is currently a director on the American Translators Association (ATA) Board of Directors and chair of ATA’s Membership Committee. She previously served as chair of ATA’s Public Relations Committee (2014–2018) and administrator of ATA’s Medical Division (2011– 2015). She has a BA in Spanish from the University of Southern Mississippi and an MA in Spanish from the University of Louisville. She is also a consultant for the University of Louisville Graduate Certificate in Translation. You can read more of her articles on her blog. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.