MAKING NETWORKING, WORK
Published on 26 November 2020
Kieran Moran is a plumber by trade originally from Victoria. When he relocated to Cairns in 1995, some of his friends who played music, mentioned they needed a bass player.
When Kieran asked how would he find one? His fried responded by reading the newspaper and placing a print ad. This gave Kieran the idea of starting a network.
“That's probably how I got started doing networks. At that time, it was called the Kieran Songwriters and Musicians Network.
“It became the biggest music association in Australia. We had about 2,500 - 3,000 members within six months and not just in Cairns,” he says.
Kieran explains the association worked on several different levels.
“I created a newsletter which became extremely popular, and that's how I actually got into journalism, from that newsletter.
“Within about a six-month period, there was an explosion of bands in the Cairns area, and what we could do was, I used to call it, rent-a-crowd.
“So, for a hotel, we could bring in about a hundred people at a minimum to a gig.
“And that's probably where I first got involved with the power of networking, just at the start of the internet about 1997,” Kieran recalls.
So, why are networks important for SMEs, micro-businesses, or even people who are corporates and why should they care about networks, today?
Kieran says because everything is about creating relationships.
“The more networking you do, being able to create those relationships on both sides, for you to know them and for also them to know you, the better.
“It's about being front of mind. When we talk about it in relation to building your LinkedIn profile, mine is connecting industry as Kieran Moran-Connecting Industry.
“I work within the resource construction industry…someone has referred to me as the eHarmony of the resource and construction sector,” Kieran laughs.
TAKING ONLINE RELATIONSHIPS, OFFLINE
Kieran hosts LinkedIn Local events in the Rockhampton area, for which the slogan is ‘take online relationships offline’.
Once we are connected on LinkedIn, how do you build your own profile for credibility and to become thought leaders and experts in our field?
Kieran says lot of people see LinkedIn as a job application.
“If people lose their job, they’ll likely go and update their LinkedIn page next.
“That was a little bit a fault of LinkedIn when it first came out in relation to the way they promoted the platform and unfortunately, a lot of people still think of that, but there are around about 800 million people on LinkedIn now.
“However, only around about 2% actually use it properly.
“LinkedIn is pretty much the best B2B platform I believe that's out there now in social media. It is not Facebook,” he proposes.
Kieran says the platform needs to be used properly, and users need to introduce themselves appropriately to potential contacts.
“It's making the connections, creating the rapport.
“It is not what you sell, what you do. My elevator pitch is strategic business communications engagement and events, where I connect you to industry today.
“Connecting industry. That is what I do, that is the service I can bring them, and I connect people,” he demonstrates.
Kieran recommends personalising the generic URL LinkedIn generates for all users.
“One of the worst things is to have www.w whatever linkedin.com/ibq145376. A personalised link adds a little bit more to your branding.
“Your brand is what you're selling, and your brand is the why, why people should work with you.
“The branding needs to run across Facebook, LinkedIn, your website… it's all the same brand and needs to be extremely consistent,” Kieran directs.
PROFILE PICTURE PERFECT
Your LinkedIn profile picture and background image are important. Kieran advises your profile photo needs to be current and reflective.
The background image should instantly convey the business or industry you work in.
“Don't have something that doesn't relate to what you do. It should portray an image of trust and of you being the go-to person, your prospects would seek out.
“Take advantage of that real estate,” Kieran urges.
He also suggests creating a headline that captures your ideal prospect's attention.
“Use it to advertise why people should work with you,” he suggests.
On the topic of advertising, is this something businesses should be doing on LinkedIn?
Kieran admits using LinkedIn to advertise can be costly.
“If you have got a lot of money, it can work for you, but my recommendation to most of my clients is not to, because it does take a quite a bit of money to really get the proper impact.
“Facebook advertising does work slightly, but Google ads and Google My Business are probably more effective advertising platforms,” he says.
The more content you include in your profile, the better your chances of being discovered, according to Kieran.
“Each job you have listed should include a strategic summary of responsibilities and accomplishments.
“It goes back to that professionality. Use relevant job descriptions and key buzzwords that are trending in your industry.
“So, again it's explaining why people should work with you, but this does get a little bit more into where and what you've done, and how you can help that client,” he explains.
FOLLOW ME, FRIENDS
Kieran has approximately 2380 followers on LinkedIn; an enviable number even big businesses struggle to achieve.
He has accomplished this by inviting hundreds of like-minded businesses and potential customers to follow his business each month, thanks to his LinkedIn Premium subscription which costs $69 a month.
So, how does he get these people following him?
Kieran says this largely depends on the level you do pay on your LinkedIn account.
“If you are just doing it for free, you're only allowed to do so much. I pay for premium so I can send off probably around about a hundred connections a day.
“When you are sitting in front of a TV at night, scrolling through, you can type key industries relevant to what you do, such as engineers, construction etc.
“When you have a good profile, I just press the button, connect, connect, connect, connect, connect to those people that are in my industry and I seem to get more connections that way,” he clarifies.
The journey does not end there though.
Kieran dedicates almost 2 ½ hours every morning following up and reconnecting on social media.
“I will send a message thanking them for connecting, telling them who I am before offering them something.
“One thing I do say is, "If you are ever interested in business collaborations...because everything is about business collaborations these days. I have got 15 contracts of small business collaborations.
“I can’t tell you how many people call me up probably per week just with that message,” he reveals.
When starting out, Kieran got his first business much through LinkedIn.
From those connections and messaging, today 85% of his business comes through LinkedIn, without having to make one phone call.
He says the beauty of the platform is that if used properly, respectfully, and not to spam your connections, you will attract work out from it.
The first step in Kieran’s strategy for attracting business via LinkedIn, is to set up what he calls the appointment-appointment.
“When people are contacting me, I might be available, but sometimes I will say, I'm interested in talking to you. I want to work with you. I have just got to go to this meeting, first.
“As I've already had a quick conversation with them about who they are, what they're doing, what they want, I then go and look at their LinkedIn and stalk them a little bit, find out their website, look at their business, try to figure out some of those solutions,” he discloses.
Kieran calls on the approach outlined in business book The Coaching Habit; which asks several key questions to reveal all the information he needs to assist a customer in solving their problems.
He says one of the most powerful questions is, is there anything else?
“Most people don't tell you first off exactly what their problem is. They will skirt around it.
“The focus question, asks what's the real challenge here for you? Usually this is something they cannot get done themselves,” he says.
In going through this process with customers and clients, Kieran cautions against assuming you have the answer and know the solution to their problems, without really listening first.
“We don't listen, and we think we've got their solution, and it's just untrue. 85-90% of people think they have got the answer, but they just do not. it is really about that listening.
START WITH WHY?
Acknowledging motivational speaker Simon Sinek, Kieran says when it comes to successful networking, be it on or offline, all businesses need to start with their why?
“It's not what you do, it's why you do it and being able to connect with those people. So again, it comes back to that relationship and making the connection with other people,” he says.
So, what are some of the fundamentals of being a good networker?
- DO NOT BIG NOTE
Kieran recalls a LinkedIn Local event he hosted at which a gentleman who worked in telecommunications brought a phone for offices to use and connect with. He advises against this, saying you should avoid doing the hard sales pitch to peers.
- DO BE AWARE OF BODY LANGUAGE
Body language is extremely important, it says everything. So, if your body language is not right, it shows. A simple smile is sometimes the greatest way to display good body language, according to Kieran.
- DO BE APPROACHABLE
Both of, and to, others. There is always the ring of the same people, talking to the same people. That is one thing Kieran tries to avoid. He suggests just going up and saying hello to people.
- DO LISTEN
Do not talk about yourself too much. Try talking about issues people may be having problems without saying, "We do this, we do this, we do that.” Remember to listen, remember to be open, and do not sell, he warns.
Before beginning his day in earnest, Kieran tunes in to a positive business podcast; usually Robin Sharma, who talks about mindset, heart set and health set.
“I try and get myself in the right place when I'm not sure what I'm doing, where I'm going, and it will just motivate me to think, "You make mistakes. Learn from it, move on, take the chance,” Kieran says.
To discover how to take online relationships offline and enhance your connections, join Kieran at the next LinkedIn Local Rockhampton, Thursday 11 February at Headricks Lane.
Check out his all-star LinkedIn profile at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kieran-moran-connecting-industry/?originalSubdomain=au&fbclid=IwAR0eXCw6sYHxvrRmZsBSFMGGvqGCnxwTDlFEj-6XgilQqqLg5S9pgweWSAQ
Kieran Moran is the manager of LinkedIn Local Rockhampton, which is a business networking event with a difference.
LinkedIn Local Rockhampton allows people to connect with their LinkedIn network offline in Rockhampton to assist them in meeting like-minded people in local businesses from around the region without the fear of being pitched to or sold at.
The SmartHub encourages entrepreneurs and business owners to adopt technology and modern based business practice to make the entire business journey more profitable, more enjoyable, more effective, and more efficient.
Being part of the SmartHub gives local business owners opportunities to meet with and learn from mentors, to help them learn the discipline required to succeed in business.
The SmartHub is currently offering free membership now (usually $51 a month or more depending on level of membership). If you would like to learn more about becoming part of the SmartHub, contact us via the following channels:
Phone: 07 4936 8444