Today’s top salespeople use LinkedIn to connect and engage with their best prospects. Using LinkedIn properly can help you sell more effectively and efficiently, which increases the growth of your personal bottom line. Let’s look at how LinkedIn can help you drive more sales.
Make It Easy for Your Prospect to Find You
Everything we discuss here assumes that you have taken the time to optimize your LinkedIn Profile so that you can be found with relevant keyword searches and make a good impression when visitors look at your Profile. This means a professional photo, descriptive headline, summary, experience, skills and recommendations. Make sure that the keywords you want to be found for appear in your headline, summary, current and past experience if possible, and skills.
You may or may not have control over whether your organization has a Company Page on LinkedIn. While this is a topic for another discussion, having a company page can give you additional credibility among viewers and enable them to learn more about the company you represent without having to leave LinkedIn.
Search for Your Ideal Prospects
First, you will need a description of your ideal prospect in order to search for them on LinkedIn. You want to define who you are looking for based on criteria such as industry, title, location, and other relevant keywords. This will enable you to use LinkedIn’s Advanced Search capabilities to identify your target audience from among LinkedIn’s 200 million users.
Once you have identified the search criteria that give you the results you want, you can save your search and have LinkedIn email you weekly or monthly updates whenever new prospects appear that meet these parameters. Essentially you are getting sales leads delivered to your inbox every week, what could be better?
Make Contact With Your Prospects
Presumably you already have some relationship with your 1st level connections, so we will focus on reaching new contacts here. If someone is a 2nd level connection for you (one of your direct connections is connected with them) LinkedIn shows you how many shared connections you have with this person and who these connections are. This gives you an opportunity to see if you know some of these mutual connections well enough to ask for an introduction to the prospect. A warm introduction from a mutual acquaintance is always more effective than a cold call.
If someone is a 2nd or 3rd level connection or a fellow Group member, you can get a lot of information from their Profile. For example, work experience, education, recommendations, what LinkedIn Groups they belong to, what companies they are following on LinkedIn and interests. Often you can find a point of commonality between you and your prospect based on this information even if you are not able to get an introduction.
If a contact is a 3rd level connection, LinkedIn will only show you their first name and the initial of their last name. However, you can use Google to get the last name simply by searching for their first name and last initial plus their company name. Google will usually show you their full name in its search results.
Use LinkedIn as an entree to starting offline relationships with your prospects. Moving your relationships from a LinkedIn contact to a phone call to an in person meeting is an ideal progression.
Some Other Tips
We will be covering LinkedIn Groups in a later post, so I will not go into details here. Suffice it to say that joining and contributing to Groups where your target audience is found is a very good idea.
LinkedIn Answers was recently discontinued, but users are starting new groups for asking and answering questions. In addition, there are rumors that LinkedIn is creating a replacement product, but don’t hold your breath waiting for it to be released.
Always check to see if the organizations you want to reach have set up a LinkedIn Company Page. These can give you useful information that you cannot usually find on their website. For example, it will show you how you are connected with employees there (Home page), employees who have changed titles and even former employees of the company (Insights).
The fact that LinkedIn is designed as an online professional network combined with its continued rapid growth makes it a valuable addition to your arsenal of prospecting tools. Users update their own information which makes it more accurate and current than other sources of information. You can do targeted searches based on a variety of criteria which can be far more time efficient than in person networking. In short, LinkedIn can help you spend less time prospecting and more time meeting with qualified prospects.
An entrepreneur with an eye for good design and advocate of simplicity. He brings a fresh strategy and approach to every project and plays an integral role in clients’ accomplishments through collaboration and close integration. Through his hands-on experience in technology and marketing, he ensures user experiences and technology are on the leading edge.