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June 23, 2009

Using your LinkedIn login to get around "Gatekeepers"

We all know who gatekeepers are right? They are the powerless middle managers who cannot say yes, but have many ways to say no.

The source of their minuscule influence is through restricting access to the people above them, controlling what they see and who they speak to. In short, they are the defenders of the status quo.

Defending their faint hold on what passes for power and curtailing any efforts of the organization to improve itself if they see it as a threat to them. They are an anathema...

Fortunately, technology had offered us a way around this...

As I have said many times here, LinkedIn is a 24/7 trade show that everyone came to. It's functionality allows you to use this as (probably) the most powerful trust based asset on the planet.

By building your network of trust based relationships, collecting references from people who others would see as a trusted source, and through backing this up in the offline world by developing a track record of achievement.

With this in place, your LinkedIn login becomes far (FAR) more than just an online CV...

With a long line of people willing to tell everyone how great your work is, you are more likely to get referrals and introductions. So if, say, you have a trust based contact who is connected with the CEO of a major organization, you can ask her for an introduction.

When the CEO checks your profile, and sees the recommendations from people he has heard of, or from other senior industry figures, then he is more likely to accept the introduction and risk giving you the time of day. (I say risk because time is exceptionally valuable commodity, it isn't given lightly)

Or, you can go the direct route and send an Inmail yourself. This has worked very well for me in the past.

A humble letter, asking for the opportunity to have a discussion with them, and stating clearly your ability to achieve results.

Remember - you are writing a letter, not a thesis, and you are writing it to a person with the power to write checks for millions of dollars. His time is valuable, and everyone wants to get a share of his magic pen.

So make the most of it.

The benefit? No more gatekeepers. You get to go straight to the decision makers. Staying at that level is another issue altogether, but getting there these days is far easier to achieve than it used to be...

And if you use these techniques on the back of your trust based assets you have spent years or months developing, then you start to appear like the obvious choice, a person with considerable momentum, and someone who they would welcome as a peer.

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