The 2013 Sales and LinkedIn Study, interviewed nearly 3100 business owners, consultants and career salespeople, 79% were small business owners. The study provides excellent insight on using LinkedIn as a free prospecting tool: “84% of respondents to the report say they’ve generated several business opportunities from using LinkedIn.”
Key insights from the most successful LinkedIn users were:
- Actively and regularly share relevant content.
- Showcase themselves as a trusted resource and demonstrate competency in their field.
- The most active respondents spend six or more hours on week on the social media site.
- Cite LinkedIn as the best source for new business leads.
- Share blog posts, links and articles, as well as to lead discussions about hot topics in their industry.
- Form connections with professionals in their field.
- Post job listings or links to sign up to events they may be hosting.
- Do business with other professionals, build and solidify relationships and drive leads.
How to do it?
1. Sales network
A LinkedIn profile is your virtual digital salesperson. Research prospects using the social tools. Use LinkedIn to get insight on people you would like to have as customers. It’s a great way to find points of connection and they will, in turn, research you and your company/products. It’s a great way to find points of connection.
Research and join Groups that are active and full of your target customers. With a free account, you can join up to 50 LinkedIn groups. Sign up for at least 10 groups to get started. The discussion boards in groups also provide a great opportunity to conduct real-time, informal market research at a low cost.
We know sales and word-of-mouth recommendations are a dream come true! Leverage the LinkedIn recommendations and endorsement tools. Turn your connections into an unpaid sales force. Within 10 days after any sale or service, ask your clients for a recommendation or endorsement on LinkedIn. Use the testimonials on other parts of your marketing, your website, your brochures and so on.
2. PR on LinkedIn
Enhance your LinkedIn profile. Forget the resume format and focus on customer-centric and results-based information. LinkedIn ranks highly on Google and if people Google you (which they do) you want to make sure your profile represents you well.
A few tips:
- Ensure your experience speaks specifically to your title
- Updated your job history
- Add more recommendations from customers who are your targets
- Reach out out to specific targets through LinkedIn and secure appointments
- Use InMail, which, while it requires a paid premium account, is a cost-effective way to reach out to people with hard-to-find email addresses.
It is also a highly effective way to connect with journalists and analysts in order to strengthen your relationship with them.
3. Jobs on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a great place to advertise job openings and associate the activity with other parts of your LinkedIn activity. Associate the job posting, the LinkedIn group with a company LinkedIn page that shares company blog content and allows interested parties to follow you. Your employees can also share recent content with their connections on their own personal LinkedIn page.
4. Thought-leadership connections
Use LinkedIn to connect with professionals within organisations that are interested in leadership development opportunities. The best way to connect is to start new discussions and take part in existing discussions.
Don’t forget LinkedIn is your personal Rolodex; ensure you protect the information of your contacts in the privacy settings. You wouldn’t share your address book on your phone publicly, don’t share it on LinkedIn.
Fi Bendall is the managing director of Bendalls Group, a team of highly trained digital specialists, i-media subject matter experts and developers.