5 Ways to Use LinkedIn to Land New Business
In last month’s Be Bold blog, we talked about the Brave New Sales World we are living in and the fact that you need to be on-board with social media or risk eventual extinction. (Or a really bad cold sore—the kind that never heals. It festers.) Anyway, Gomez, the point was made to go where your clients are to strengthen relationships and to communicate the way they communicate … and your clients are on Facebook and LinkedIn.
Jetline’s Dana ‘Zoint’ Zezzo (he’s short, but smart) makes the very intriguing point that there is no rule that says Facebook is personal and LinkedIn is for business, but the fact is this is how most people pigeon-hole these sites. And the topic of this month’s column offers up FIVE (count them!) ways to use LinkedIn to land some new accounts and expand existing ones! Yes. I’m a giver.
While early adopters flocked to Google+ and MySpace (when was the last time you went there?!) and now our kids and moms have become Power Users on Facebook, LinkedIn is where business gets done. Execs from all the Fortune 1000 companies are there and 59 percent of professionals active on social networking say that LinkedIn is their platform of choice over Facebook and Twitter. I know, I’m stunned too.
So kids … LinkedIn is a happening place. It is the unsung hero of social platforms (nobody has made an Oscar-winning movie about LinkedIn! Come on, Jesse Eisenberg!) and it CAN be used to obtain new business. Here are five approaches for you to use LinkedIn effectively:
1. Target Searches for key words you’ve identified as central to your business or your sales area of expertise. If you sell to the medical manufacturing industry, search "medical devices" or "medical marketing." Put in an industry or a specific company and add "VP of Marketing" or "Marketing Manager" or "Director Of Marketing" and see what, or WHO, comes up. Search by specific zip codes to focus on a particular area and identify key contacts to call, email or send LinkedIn InMail to. Search former contacts you loved working with that have moved on from client companies. They’ll be on LinkedIn … find them and revive them and land a new account. They already know how incredible you are!
2. Track who is looking at YOUR profile. Research those individuals and their companies in depth, identify their marketing directors and send them your introductory materials or some spec samples. Follow up with a phone call and begin building your new relationship.
3. Research or, as I like to call it, do some "reconnaissance" work. Watching (via Google Analytics) which domain names visit your website on any given day will give you a clue about which companies might be in the market for a new promotional products resource. Back on LinkedIn, you can then research who the top decision-makers are at those companies and proactively approach the—again, via a call or an email or an InMail.
4. Set Up A Company Page. Setting up your company on LinkedIn isn’t going to generate a bunch of instant leads, but it DOES give you an opportunity to have a presence on LinkedIn beyond a personal profile—to ratchet up your online charisma! I like the way you can embed banner images and videos in your company page, as well as feed your blog posts and tweets. You can also feature promotional products and specials on your page and seek recommendations for them. This will only enhance your credibility!
5. Participate in LinkedIn groups catering to your target market in order to engage in conversations with the right people. Seek out groups with lots of activity rather than lots of members (You’ll have to join them to get a sense of the activity). Monitor the group discussions and respond thoughtfully and helpfully or reference a case history, but DON’T SELL. You’ll be surprised how many potential new clients will ASK you to SELL THEM! The goal is to engage rather than sell outright. Look for opportunities to discuss how promotional products can solve most business problems. You should see great success and obtain some new clients this way.
Does all of this work? Yes, although it takes a focused effort and the investment of time. People who really commit are spending a couple of hours a week working LinkedIn and finding it does pay off with inquiries from potential new accounts to reconnections with old buyers in new places.
Once a week, LinkedIn sends you an email update that summarizes activity from your contacts, and you delete this email. (I know you delete it because I’ve got my eye on you.) It’s important that you REVIEW this information each week to see what your connections have posted, who may have shifted jobs and what is going on. Organize your prospects into folders—such as HR Prospects, Marketing Contacts, General Prospects. You can print follow-up lists from these folders to help organize your LinkedIn efforts. Solicit positive references from your contacts—the more, the better! This greatly establishes your credibility when you get checked out!
Simply put, using these five points in a tactical approach to obtaining new clients via LinkedIn will result in your obtaining new business. And that’s worth two ducks in the pot. I’m not sure what ducks have to do with it, though. Now I’m confused.
Thank you to Ann Hadley for her great suggestions, which I’ve adapted for our industry.
Rick Greene, MAS, is the Western Regional Vice-President of HALO Branded Solutions, a Past President of SAAC and the Editor of SAACTimes. His comic fantasy novels “Boofalo!” and “Shroom!” are available on Amazon.com.