According to my latest LinkedIn user survey, only 28% of respondents said LinkedIn has helped them generate identifiable business opportunities. As far as I’m concerned, that just stinks! And it’s my mission to help people start using LinkedIn to get more business.
To clarify, this doesn’t mean simply selling more products and services. It includes:
- Finding more donors and volunteers for your nonprofit
- Increasing and improving your list of suppliers and vendors
- Identifying new strategic partners
- Improving the pool of candidates for your latest job opening
- Helping you secure your next great job
Here are my 5 C’s for using LinkedIn to grow your business.
CREATE a customer-focused profile
- Use special profile sections and the Professional Gallery to highlight your area(s) of expertise.
- In addition to the Contact Info and Advice for Contacting sections, consider including your preferred contact information in your Summary and Current Job Experience sections.
- Include specific calls to action throughout your profile to encourage readers to engage with you.
CONNECT with your prospects
- Use Advanced People Search, Company Search, Alumni, Groups, People You May Know, and Who’s Viewed My Profile to find new prospects.
- Use a five-star invitation to reach out to potential prospects. Include where you met (if applicable) and/or how you could help each other.
- Avoid LinkedIn’s standard invitation language (in other words, don’t use the LinkedIn app for invitations).
- Always be on the lookout for quality connections. The larger your network, the more opportunity for business growth.
CONSTRUCT a targeted prospect list
- Use advanced features like tags, network sorting options, and LinkedIn Contacts to group prospects who have similar buyer characteristics.
- Download your connections database. You can then filter and sort the names for use outside of LinkedIn.
- Consider upgrading to one of the premium LinkedIn accounts to receive additional profile sorting and saving options.
COMMUNICATE with your network
- Stay in front of your audience by making daily status updates.
- Add value to your relationships by sharing valuable industry information.
- Use direct messaging to contact your first-level connections and fellow group members. But don’t contact them too often or sell too hard or they may remove you from their network.
- Increase your exposure by engaging in group discussions and “liking,” “sharing” or commenting on other people’s status updates.
CAPITALIZE on existing relationships
- Connect with all of your existing clients/customers.
- Search their networks to find out who they know.
- Use the LinkedIn Introduction feature to have your current customers introduce you to people in their networks who might become future customers.
- Get referrals, recommendations, and endorsements. It’s easy–just ask!
For more insights on why it’s so important to connect on LinkedIn with your current clients and customers, be sure to read “The Most Important LinkedIn Connection You’ll Ever Make.”
Once a skeptic and now an outspoken proponent of LinkedIn, my friend Wayne Breitbarth is passionate about helping business professionals—from entry level to CEO—learn how to combine their previous experience and relationships with LinkedIn in order to successfully brand and market themselves and their businesses. Visit Wayne’s website, www.powerformula.net.