by Kirsten Hodgson
What is a connection?
The fact that you are connected to someone on LinkedIn simply means that that person has given you permission to join their network – nothing more and nothing less.
Your connections may include clients, prospects, referrers, colleagues, peers, and friends.
Nevertheless, professionals are often concerned that if competitors can see their connections they’ll try to poach their clients.
Why display your contacts?
I do understand this genuine concern but, let’s be real, competitors are trying to poach your clients all the time. If you want to know who someone’s clients are it’s not too difficult to find out.
Simply having your connections on display isn’t going to make it any easier for other lawyers, accountants or engineers to poach your clients. You’ve (hopefully) built your client relationships based on rapport, experience, trust and client service. It takes time to replicate this and, if you’re doing a good job, it makes it harder for your competitors.
My advice is to focus more on looking after your clients and less on who else might be trying to poach them.
Ultimately, you will have to make your own decision so you’ll need to weigh up the benefits of allowing your connections to see who else you know versus the risks of client poaching.
Some benefits of making your connections public (i.e. visible to those to whom you are also connected):
- Your connections can see who else you know that they might want an introduction to.
- You can do the same and ask for an introduction knowing that you can reciprocate if desired.
- You can use LinkedIn as a valuable tool when looking to strengthen or build client relationships, when developing industry sector or practice group plans, when planning for an upcoming RFP etc. and help your colleagues to do the same.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to allow certain contacts to see your connections and to block others from doing so. Maybe it’s something for LinkedIn to look at in the future but, in the meantime, think carefully about who you connect to. If you don’t want someone to see who else you are connected to, remove them from your contacts.
Then focus on using LinkedIn to strengthen relationships with your existing clients and make it harder for your competitors to get a foot in the door.
What’s your view?
Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici @ FreeDigitalPhotos.net
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