Nick Quin is a regional manager in the NZ region, leading a team of people bringing SAP's enterprise and cloud solutions to organisations across Wellington and the South Island of NZ. We spoke to him about how powerful a tool like LinkedIn can be in not only helping you reach your target customer base, but also how it plays a vital part in gaining the role in the first place.
As with all great stories, there must be a beginning. After a successful career across Europe and Asia, Nick started to feel the call of home.
A New Beginning
“For the past 20 years away from New Zealand, not a day passed without thoughts of heading home,” Nick shares. “It felt like time to return, and Wellington was the place we chose. However, I returned without a secure role, trusting that the right role would become available. After all, companies such as Xero, Vend, Area360, not to mention countless early-stage innovators and entrepreneurs, were making Wellington their home. Why shouldn’t we? It just felt right.”
But it meant starting again. Nick tells us that, as he’d been gone for nearly twenty years when they planned to return, he had to start from the beginning. There was no network or strong past relationships to rely on. In fact, when he looked at his LinkedIn statistics he could see his network consisted mostly of Europeans, due to his Danish employer, Asians and Australians. The New Zealand business community was nowhere to be found.
“When I took to my LinkedIn account, my first task was to start connecting. I spent hours going through company by company, following execs in fields I was interested in. New Zealand has a thriving tech and innovation scene, and I wanted to get to know the players.”
Share Your Story
“I focused in on the task of building my network, because I knew I had nothing without it. One of the main things I did, even before I returned, was to announce my intentions to move via a blog post on LinkedIn and to explain why I was doing it ,” Nick recounts. “The blog post blew up, and I remember seeing all the likes and engagements it received. People seemed to respond well to the genuine voice behind my post. I wrote it to share my story, and to hopefully make new relationships in the place I once called home.”
Nick’s passion for authenticity online comes through in his advice for others when building a network. The power he talks about, lies in being yourself whenever you interact with others online, and most importantly to connect using your own personal tone of voice and terminology.
“If there’s a disconnect between who you are as a person, in real life and online, people are going to notice. To create genuine connections, it’s key to talk as you would if you’d met them today at a business networking meeting or at the office.“
LinkedIn Messages To Coffee Meetings
LinkedIn has become a powerful tool in many ways, from enabling social sellers to connect with their customers on a regular basis, as well as providing a platform for thought leaders to share their expertise without leaving the comfort of their office. But one of the most powerful uses of this ever-growing network, is the ability to connect people with roles, as was the case for Nick.
“My network grew over time and started to result in coffee meetings. It was a fantastic period of time where I met a wide variety of people and learnt a lot. One such meeting resulted in a referral to SAP. Interestingly, the hiring process took over two months, with back and forth meetings and discussions, online and in person. I was in Singapore at the time.
It also took a while for me to learn more about SAP, as the company it had become: one that continues to be forward thinking, with a purpose and which is full of incredible people. All these are factors in why I eventually chose SAP, but what was interesting to me was how important a role LinkedIn had played in connecting me with the right people, at the right time.”
LinkedIn In Business
“Today, I use LinkedIn slightly differently, but with the same intention. I often still grab a cup of coffee, and just browse through my network, looking for new connections. In a place the size of Wellington, with just a few clicks you can be connected to someone such as our Prime Minister, Jacinda Ardern. It makes for a powerful network of people.” Nicks suggests amusedly.
And this seems plausible in the world of social media, especially when we’re supposed to be only six connections apart from everyone. But how does Nick stay connected to the network he’s put some much time into over the past two years?
Two things come to mind for Nick. Firstly, he just keeps connecting. He shares regularly and connects often. He knows how important his network has become. “Over time I’ve built connections in key places within our customer network, so I’m able to present at the right moments within the business decision processes. My sector is quite a diverse one, and it’s interesting to see the overlaps that occur. I like to see the businesses from all perspectives. LinkedIn helps me do that.”
Secondly, he reminds us all to post meaningful content. There’s often no benefit in sharing company-written, uninteresting, blog posts or videos. You need to make it your own, add a spin or share something targeted to your audience. The best conversations come from being interesting. Having a genuine opinion has never been more effective in today’s online world.
Tracking, Tracking, Tracking
Nick’s method of tracking his social activities isn’t about pens and notepaper. It’s about looking at your data and understanding what it means for you.
“When I began to build my network in New Zealand I started to see a dramatic shift in the users engaging with me. My top engagers were coming from NZ, and I could see the impact my actions online were having.
In terms of business, key players would be known connections, and although I can’t directly correlate them, I know these introductions online made it easier to do business, simply because they knew who I was before they’d ever met me. It made doing business more natural and real.”
When asked whether he agreed that LinkedIn had played a vital part in him starting his role at SAP, Nick was inclined to agree. “The power of social business has never been more evident. It’s about growing your network methodically by being targeted in its growth, but also by being natural and true to yourself to create positive relationships.”