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How I Used LinkedIn to Get Prospects to Contact Me

September 19, 2013

Listening to many sales people in a variety of sales organizations that take part in the various Social Media platforms, I continually hear concerns, frustration and confusion on just how social media works.  They do not seem to have the enthusiastic results that they envisioned.

A recent blog, Why do Only Half of Sales People use Social Media, stated “Social media is now a well-established part of the marketer’s toolkit.  Many companies invest a lot of time and money into cultivating their social media presence.  However, while social media is valuable for lead generation, many people question whether it can be useful for an individual salesperson.”

Well, I am not here to tell you how social media works, there are some excellent e-books that you can get from Hubspot, Bridge Group Inc., and author, Randy Schrum, that can explain in more detail what to do.  Diana Gats, who is a LinkedIn expert has coached me along the way.  I am here to share my experience in getting leads, referrals and new business from my favorite social media site, LinkedIn; a great tool for B2B sales people, sales managers and anyone looking to connect.

I was an early adaptor to LinkedIn, but in the beginning I wasted a lot of time and got very little results.  I really didn’t have a strategy, but was fascinated with the possibilities. After I developed a specific purpose and goals for myself for using LinkedIn, I began to get business and I found that in most cases people were contacting me.  I didn’t have to have an aggressive prospecting method.

A lesson I’ve learned is that the individual salesperson’s strategy to “Get More Leads” is different than a company’s marketing strategy.  Here are some tips that have worked for me and can get you started towards success using LinkedIn.

Your first goal on LinkedIn as a salesperson is to market yourself as easily engaged and influential in your market.  People need to see that you are open and responsive and although the click and buy concept has taken over much of marketing strategies, People still buy from People that they feel connected to,  who understand their needs, and are buyer centric.

“But Allan, How do you do that on LinkedIn?”  LinkedIn Logo

Try these basic steps that work for me.

Step 1:  Develop a Compelling Profile.  Drop me an e-mail if you want names of people that can help you develop your profiles.

  1.  Focus on the customer needs, not on what you want to sell. Your profile summary should be geared to what you can accomplish for your customer.  This is not a resume.
  2. Create a compelling title.
  3. Get a professional picture. This means stop putting those pictures of your dog, or you out on a beach
  4.  Get a minimum of 3 recommendations from satisfied clients.

Step 2:  Join Groups. Focus on groups where your prospects are.  Start by observing conversations and look for groups where your customers areLook for conversations that give you a better understanding of the challenges and the opportunities your client’s industry faces. Getting connected here can give you direct access to prospects.  If you are in the same group as a prospect, LinkedIn allows you to connect with them without an introduction.

Step 3:  Join Conversations.  Joining a group as an inactive bystander builds no credibility for you.  Join in conversations that help you build your reputation as an expert in your industry, without using bravado or hype.

Step 3:  Develop your network with Purpose.  Never try to connect with someone without a reason or a purpose. When sending an invitation to connect, personalize your message, don’t use LinkedIn’s standard message.  Set a goal of 500+ purposeful connections.

Step 4: Offer Assistance. When someone wants to link in with you, ask them how you can help them. This is a prime opportunity; take it.  Review their profile and see where there are possibilities of mutual benefit.

Step 5: State your purpose clearly.  If you are reviewing someone else’s connections, don’t just ask for an introduction. Be sure they know why you want or need an introduction.

Step 6: Ask for referrals. If you are linked in with your clients, it is great to ask for referrals to their contacts but do this face to face and make sure they are on-board with the process.

Step 7:  Learn how to use some of the advanced search and prospecting tools to save you time in looking for qualified prospects by clicking the HELP button on LinkedIn.  .

When done improperly, without a specific purpose and goals, using LinkedIn as cold calling and networking can be a tremendous waste of time.  Depending upon your style of working, there are myriad ways to prospect for leads and hopefully, if done right, you will have prospects that will contact you.

For a LinkedIn Checklist/Worksheet to get you started, click here.  

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