Many people don’t know that you have the ability to share with others all of your first degree connections in your network on LinkedIn, and vice versa. For those who do know this (like you now do!) this visibility into who you are connected with leads most people to ask the question: “Should I even be sharing my connections with everyone?”
The answer to this question comes down to what you are trying to achieve by using LinkedIn. You are in control of your own privacy settings on LinkedIn, and the ultimate decision is yours, however, in my opinion, I think you should leave your connections open.
Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve on LinkedIn?
– Are you trying to build credibility, authority, and trust within your network?
– Are you trying to provide value to people that connect with you?
– Are you trying to be transparent and honest in your business dealings / product and services?
If you answer yes to these questions, and you are leveraging LinkedIn correctly, then your network already views you as a trusted, valuable adviser rather than a guarded, shifty sales person. Make the mental mind shift, and start giving that trust back to your clients. You don’t have anything to hide, you have your clients’ best interest at heart and you should be confident in your abilities and services.
Restating this, your contacts are connected with you, because they have a relationship with you. If you’re using LinkedIn correctly and selling with integrity, your connections aren’t going to leave you for your competition unless you are no longer providing value within the context of your relationship.
With this in mind, even if your competitor DID go through your connections and contact them, so what?! When your connection gets a message from your competitor, they’ll say “thanks for the message, but I already have a trusted connection that does what you do who provides me with the value and service I need.” You thus will not have to worry about your connections being poached.
Still worried about the competition?
The only people that can see your connections are people that YOU are already directly connected to. If you’re still worried about your competition stealing your clients, then un-connect with the competitor.
The exception to this is if you’re in a role that requires doctor-patient confidentiality or lawyer-client confidentiality. In this case, it is a good idea to close down your connections as allowing your clients to see who your other clients are is a violation of that client / patient confidentiality role.
In summary, it comes down to a question of whether you are more interested in providing value to your network or limiting the access of your competitors. Which one is the abundance mentality? 🙂
Connect with me, Asia Bird, on LinkedIn and to learn more about how best to leverage Linkedin for you and your business, check out MY BOOK – The Linkedin Essentials and/or visit MY WEBSITE – www.sociablesales.com.