I got an unexpected message on LinkedIn. A friend of a friend was using a mutual – and close – friend, Shaun, as leverage to connect – potentially as a way to get clients from LinkedIn.

I was happy to carve out time for a phone call. Anything for Shaun.

Did he care about me, or was he just trying to get clients?

We set a time to talk on the phone the following week. After thirty minutes of listening to various portfolio options available through this financial advisor, I thought great idea (to use a relationship to connect through LinkedIn ), but poor execution.

Using a friend in order to foster a connection to someone you might be able to help was a great idea. Him wasting that time talking about his business, hoping to land me as a new client, was not the right tactic.

How could I promote myself using the same tactic to attract clients?

Inspired by the strategy, but annoyed with his execution, I decided to try a different take on this approach. Going to Shaun’s LinkedIn account myself, I scrolled through until I found someone who looked interesting. Rhett Murthy popped up. Based on what I saw on LinkedIn, I was excited to learn more about him.

I reached out, told Rhett that we have a mutual friend in Shaun, and suggested we connect on the phone. Within a day, we had a phone conversation scheduled. That’s when I started digging, in order to learn more about him.

An actual, human-based connection

His passion for videography, screenwriting, and storytelling was intriguing – I could hardly wait to learn more!

Squished for time, we talked for less than twenty minutes. That was all I needed in order to know I wanted to learn more. I suggested that we hit Shaun up for lunch at his house to get to know each other better. Fascinated by Rhett’s passion for storytelling, I asked a million questions and thoroughly enjoyed learning about his career journey.

An Unexpected Question

At the end of our time together, Rhett asked with sincerity, “How can I help you? Are there specific people you’re trying to meet?”

What a generous question, and not one I had anticipated. I was delighted to have a new friend, and nothing more was needed.

“Know anyone looking for a leadership coach, or a speaker?” I asked.

After a few more questions to gain a sense of my topic and target market, Rhett had a person in mind – Ben Griffin. Ben runs a couple of CEO groups here in Baltimore… my target market!

Get clients through LinkedIn: Simple HandshakeA few weeks later, Ben and I met for lunch, had a lively conversation, and shared a few resources. Several months later (seemingly out of the blue), Ben asked if I was available to speak to one of his CEO groups in just a few weeks.

What a great fit! Of course I said “Yes!”

A group of Coaching Clients

Researching the CEOs in Ben’s group, learning about their unique challenges and crafting a customized presentation, was joyful. At the end of our time together, several of the CEOs in the presentation came to me and said things like, “I’ve sat through hundreds of presentations. Presenters rarely give me anything concrete to do differently. But in just the first ten minutes of your talk, I knew something I could do differently to increase engagement!”


Did I get noticed on LinkedIn, or use the opportunity to make a friend?

I can only imagine how differently that whole exchange would have gone, had I spent my time on that initial call with Rhett focused on trying to get clients, or focused on the ways he could help me. I doubt that he would have even met me at Shaun’s for lunch, much less been a connecting point which ultimately landed an opportunity for me to present, to the perfect group of potential clients, here in Baltimore.

By focusing on building a genuine relationship (and being interested in the person I was speaking with – learning about his life and journey), all the other pieces came together naturally, leading me to an opportunity with my target market, and to potentially get clients from this initial LinkedIn contact.

How to get clients using LinkedInattract clients through real relationships

If you’re seeking opportunities (new clients, employees, or even increased engagement), begin building the relationship by getting the answers to these three questions:

  1. What drives them?
    (Why do they do the work they do? What got them into the work/industry?)
  2. What inspires them?
    (Go beyond the work itself. Learn about their hobbies, family, and history).
  3. What do they struggle with, and how can you help them?
    (Are there people they would like to meet, training that would help them get better results, or other resources that would help them?)

Using leverage on LinkedIn

If you’re going to use a strong relationship to begin new relationships, remember to establish the new relationship first by focusing on getting to know them.  Tune in, listen to them, be genuinely interested and show that genuine interest, and you will derive greater benefit from all of your new relationships.

Here’s to your greatness,

Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister has been helping leaders boost engagement and productivity across generations for more than 15 years. Help your team reach its highest potential at https://MistiBurmeister.com


Relevant Resource:
6 Steps to Get Clients With LinkedIn