LinkedIn is a great platform for connecting professionally, finding work and sharing content. But have you ever thought of using LinkedIn for lead generation?Linkedin has improved on their marketing. Lately, Linkedin means business in more ways than one.
Of all the social networks floating around out there today, Linkedin is the benchmark when it comes to social business networking. That’s not to say that there isn’t plenty of business happening on many of the most popular networks, but Linkedin is clearly about making business development happen.
Ultimately, the goal of any business focused networking activity is to drive a sale. And what’s the best way to start that process? Here are five tips to get the leads flowing in your direction via Linkedin.
“If you feel comfortable enough with the relationship to make a connection with someone on LinkedIn, feel free to go through his contacts.
Copy and paste a short list of names you’d like to be introduced to and message him asking if he would be willing to make a quick introduction for you to each of them.
If you invest a minute, or so each working day clicking the “connect” button on the “People You May Know” list that LinkedIn posts in your feed you will broaden your network, and you will become known as someone who expands the network, which is just as important.
Remember: Everyone you talk to about business or meet during the business day is a potential LinkedIn connection.
Keep It Close
Ok, let’s all admit it; in the early days of MySpace, the more “friends” you had, the better your network was, or at least your ego. Hopefully, we all learned a thing or two, and keep the cards a bit closer on Facebook.
On Linkedin, “More is more” philosophy takes on a different meaning. Sure, the more contacts you have, obviously the deeper your reach is. However, when connecting via Linkedin, be sure to fill in that personalized message field.
As the receiver of such invites, my natural reaction is, “Now, who is this person?” If you’re sending a connection request, be sure to introduce yourself, and explain the relationship you have with the person you sent a request to.
Sure, this step is not necessary for close circle connections, but the further out you reach, the more meaningful that personalized message is.
After making a new connection, either in person or through a shared connection, be sure to take the time and get to know this person.
Fully perusing their profile is not stalking, but getting to know someone better. Perhaps you both have an interest in Sales and marketing, or you are both digital marketers.
Bringing up a conversation demonstrates to the other party that you care, have shared interests and thought enough to mention them, ultimately resulting in gaining contact’s respect and trust a solid foundation for any business relationship.
In addition, whether you recognize it as such or not, learning more about a contact is one of the quickest routes to a qualified lead.
Prepare a digital version of your 30-Second Commercial and include that text in your LinkedIn Profile.
The main thing to remember about LinkedIn is this: It is a huge, never-ending, virtual networking event, and you have to be ready with the right response to, “What do you do?”
Your 30-second commercial is the answer to that question, as told from the point of view of a prospect in pain that eventually turned into your happy customer.
For instance: “We specialize in custom designed inventory management systems for manufacturing and distribution operations. We’ve been particularly successful with companies in the X, Y, and Z industries that are concerned about the costs associated with inaccurate inventory counts, unhappy with frequent paperwork bottlenecks that slow down the fulfillment process, or disappointed by the amount of time it takes to reconcile purchasing, invoicing, and shipping records.
We’ve been able to create hand-in-glove inventory management systems that help our customers save time, attention, and money.”
If something like this isn’t on your LinkedIn profile you’re at a competitive disadvantage.
Ensure that your profile is up to par. The meat and potatoes of your entire Linkedin experience, your profile is the obvious place to make clear who you are and what you do.
There’s no need to blatantly state that you’re looking to close deals…let your experience do that for you. How far in depth you go with your profile is entirely up to you, but if you’ve got some great experiences and solid examples of “Can do!” don’t hold back.
Providing an up-to-the-minute profile lets other Linkedin users know that you’re serious about the platform and plan on making the very most out of it.
Keep your profile as concise as possible as visitors aren’t there to read a book, but rather know who you are and what you can do for them. Linkedin is a perfect location to use a professional headshot.
Linkedin certainly shouldn’t serve as the be-all-end-all for your lead generation process, but by putting a bit of time, effort, and care into cultivating a powerful presence on the leading business platform, over time you can reap the lead generating rewards.
If you’ve used any social network in the past, this should be a no brainer, and yet, I’m constantly shocked to see many, many barren profiles.
Remember, Linkedin isn’t, or shouldn’t, be a simple rundown of who you are and what you do and where you’ve done it.
If you’re putting yourself out there, surely, there’s much more to you than just a resume. Granted, due to the nature of Linkedin, photos of your escapades in Vegas might not be entirely appropriate, but this goes without saying by now, doesn’t it?
With the mission of positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry, go ahead and share some content with your Linkedin contacts that you find interesting.
Perhaps it was the lately TNW article, a presentation via Slideshare, or an interesting tutorial on YouTube. Likewise, Linkedin can be a great place to repurpose or reintroduce some of your existing content.
Got a blog article that you recently released that’s been getting some attention? Post up an excerpt with a link back to said article, and be sure to include why you’re posting this. Does it seek to solve a potential customer’s problem?
You can dig into the Q&A by joining groups that are relevant to your business. The beauty of answering others questions is that over time, you’ll gain valuable street cred, with the ultimate goal of becoming the go-to-guy/gal.
Gaining exposure in your particular field is never a bad thing, and this, “Let’s see what Sandra thinks” will, over time, translate into inquiries, RFP’s, and say it with me now, “SOLD!”
bLinkedin also features an Answers section where you can quickly browse relevant verticals and provide some solutions. The benefits are similar to the discussions section, ultimately helping you not only share your knowledge but also position you as “the” person.
Now that’s not to say that you need to be digging and digging and constantly hitting the refresh button; Linkedin provides a very handy RSS feed for specific verticals, making it quick and easy to you to scan new questions posed in the Answers section.
Search with Advanced Filters
“One of the best features of having a LinkedIn premium account is being able to use advanced filters in search. Not only can you search by company and relationship, but premium advanced search on LinkedIn allows you to search by function, seniority level and company size, too.”
First, you will need to define what a high-quality lead is for you and your firm. You can do that by answering these questions:
- Who are your buyers?
- What are their job titles?
- What’s the seniority level of your decision-makers?
- What company size are you looking at?
- What specific industries do they belong to?
Once you have the answers to these questions, you can use LinkedIn’s advanced search tool to find potential prospects. Your free account is more than enough to give you the ability to search for people by keywords, relationship, groups, location and industry. You can also do a Boolean search. A Boolean search allows you to combine words and phrases with the words and, or, not and near to limit, widen or define your search.
This will help you narrow your search. To ensure you get only people who are not in your network, don’t forget to remove first-degree connections from your search parameters when conducting an advanced search.
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