I took an English communication class at college. The course required each student to give a short speech, and my chosen topic was chewing gum. As soon as I began my speech, the usually quiet classroom suddenly turned into uproar. Many students started making the gesture of a machine gun. Some even stood up and made a lot of noise while shooting me with their imaginary weapon. By now you probably know the fatal mistake I made in my speech. The good thing that came out from this bad experience is that I'll never forget the difference between "gum" and "gun" in pronunciation! Here's the post.
March 22, 2017 (Wed)
Building a c-level executive network on Wechat
In my February 8 post, I talked about how I discovered the power of LinkedIn to connect with companies in China. Gradually, I realized that this professional network is not yet frequently used by Chinese executives. This led me to Wechat, a network connected to over 800 million users 24/7 on their mobile phone.
About a year ago I signed up for a Wechat account when many domain investors were talking about this tool. I did not put much thought into it and so made two mistakes: (1) I chose a long, 12-character name, and (2) I accepted anyone who sent me a request. I ended up with a useless network filled with strangers.
Recently, I decided to redo my Wechat network by changing my account name. I had to unlink my original account name from my mobile phone, moved it to another mobile phone and then deleted it. I used my mobile phone to register a new name which is the same as my website name and only has 7 characters.
Once I had the new account name, I started cautiously. Realizing that Wechat has a limit of 5,000 contacts, I wanted to make the best use of it. I decided to make my Wechat network a subset of my LinkedIn network, by having only c-level executives because they are the most likely persons to make decision to acquire domain names.
My system starts from LinkedIn, where I get dozens of requests to connect with me everyday. For those who are c-level executives, I store their names and other details in a database, and I request to connect with them on Wechat. Once connected, each of them is assigned an ID in my database to link back to their LinkedIn profile. This is very important because otherwise I'll have no idea who they are because many of them do not use their real names.
Wechat has a very useful feature called Tag. You can enter up to 19 (?) characters into the Tag field of each contact. I use it to store the ID of each contact, which starts with the letter "A" followed by a 4-digit number. "A" enables these important contacts to float to the top on Wechat's contact list. For contacts that I can't identify -- which happens occasionally -- I simply name them "zz", which pushes such contacts to the bottom of the list for easy deletion in the future. The 4-digit number is used because I can only fill 5,000 spaces.
I avoid using Wechat on my mobile phone because it is not productive. Instead, I run the Wechat app on my Windows PC. Unfortunately, the Windows app is very basic and does not sync well with the mobile app. So, I make sure the Windows app is active when I open the mobile app; otherwise, contents on the mobile phone will not be updated on the Windows app.
I greet each new contact with a standard message consisting of three parts: (1) Name of the executive so that I can confirm the identify, (2) Industry of the executive so that I can confirm my database entry which I can search for potential buyers if I have a domain name for a specific industry in the future, and (3) What I do so that they will remember me when they need a domain name.
Connection is not relationship; it must be nurtured. My approach is to give first -- in the form of a weekly brief written specially for CEOs. Unfortunately, Wechat limits the number of recipients for each broadcast message to 200, and I have a feeling that Wechat does not like people sending a large volume of messages on their network. So my workaround is to select a different group of 200 contacts to send out each week, which will take 25 weeks to come back to the same group. In other words, I can talk to the same person twice a year.
What do I want to achieve? A good audience! I think if people like me, they'll do business with me. Will my approach work? I hope so. Maybe we can come back in a year and look at the result. Finally, please note that my Wechat account is used mostly for folks living in China. For folks outside China, I prefer email. Therefore, if you want to contact me, please use the email address listed on the Me page of my site.