In Part One, we discussed how to make your LinkedIn profile really stand out from the crowd, turning your own personal business website into something that attracts viewings and rises your profile in the market place.
In Part Two, we are looking at how to get more business from this on-line tool, so you spend your time wisely.
1) Give before you expect to get. You need to have the mindset that you want to build value up front, rather than try to push your products. LinkedIn is a great place to build relationships, but shouldn’t be used to overtly sell your services. So, join specific groups that harbour members that you would like to contact.
Remember, when you are in a group, you can, in effect, email anyone in that group without knowing their email address. You don’t just have to post something to everyone in the group…you can send specific material to individuals with whom you are trying to get close to.
2) Check your prospect’s history. Check if their work history includes companies you’ve worked with before. Check out their summaries and identify what you and they might have in common, so you can immediately build rapport and discuss something of real relevance.
Your prospect’s profile may well have some hidden gems that you can latch onto, so be on the lookout for specific areas that you can mention in your contacts with them.
3) Visit the profiles of many people within the companies you are prospecting, not just one. Many salespeople will look for individual persons when they search. Instead, try searching companies within your area of responsibility, then try to identify decision-makers within those companies who would have an influence on what you are selling. You might find 4 or 5 people you may have missed if you were simply doing a ‘person-search’.
When you have got the company profile, look for the key decision-makers within that company so you get a good mix of people and a good overall viewpoint of the structure of the decision-making hierarchy.
4) Have the right mind-set towards LinkedIn. Here are ideas that you should be looking to identify when you prospect using LinkedIn:
5) Use the Tag Feature often. Many salespeople don’t know how useful the ‘Tag’ feature is. It allows you to put various contacts that you have into various folders, allowing you to send the same message to a group of up to 50 people. It’s very useful if you want to highlight a particular message to people in the same industry or same area.
Let’s say you have come across some interesting research and you want to send it to all your automobile contacts, or all the HR managers in a particular region. Simply go to ‘contacts’ at the top line of your profile, and click on ‘connections’ in the drop-down box.
Under the ‘filter connections’ column, highlight ‘Tags’ and click ‘Manage’.
You can now make up to 200 ‘tags’ or folders to put your connections in. Maybe you want to send a special offer to all HR managers, or send specific material to people in a certain industry or area. Simply create a tab, move the connections you want to contact to that tab, and voila! You have a ready-made list of up to 50 prospects to whom you can send valuable information.
If you want to have more than 50 people in a group, simply label them ‘Tag 1′ and ‘Tag 2′ and send the material to both groups. Easy!
This great tool allows you to personalise information to a group of prospects without having to to go through them one by one.
6) Get to know your prospects well. While you’re on their profiles, analyse any business challenges they are currently facing, identify what you have in common, what mutual interests you share, what groups they belong to and what mutual connections you share.
See if they have a twitter account you could follow or a personal blog you could read. See who else has checked out their profile. Identify which new contacts they have recently made.
Doing this before you contact by phone or email increases your chances of getting a favourable response.
7) Build recommendations. This is one of the best ways of improving your professional presence and builds reasons why people should be using you. At the time of writing, I have over 120 recommendations, and this puts me high on the list when it comes to building trust with other prospects.
Get your best customers to tell other prospects how you’ve helped them. Encourage your recommenders to talk less about how good you are and more about the results you helped them achieve. That way, your prospects will want to experience the same things and have more reasons to contact you.
8 ) Use ‘Saved Searches’. This great tool means that you keep up-to-date with new people who come into your search category.
For example, let’s say you have searched for ‘HR Directors within 10 miles of CV1′
This search will come up with x number of people. Now, save this search (top right hand corner of the search page) and LinkedIn will automatically update your search whenever any other HR Directors in your search parameter come into range. So you don’t have to do the prospecting yourself, it’s automatically done for you. How’s that for ease of use!
And remember, you can have up to 3 saved searches on a free account.
9) Share your expertise. Post updates whenever you go onto LinkedIn , preferably every day. If you come across an interesting article, and you will find many on the LinkedIn Homepage, send the link to chosen contacts. Let people know when your company has done something really good, or detail the results a client is getting with your product.
Share great resources that will be of benefit to all cleints. Contribute to group discussions. Share what’s going on on your activity section. Comment on what others are saying and doing.
Doing all this gets your face and name known among your contacts. You will attract interesting comments and feedback, and your presence will increase exponentially.
Remember, LinkedIn is not the place to sell, but is a great place to build relationships. people we know who are using it to build their lists simply don’t have to cold call. They spend their time building lists, giving value and sharing ideas.
Use LinkedIn for the purpose it’s there for, and you’ll soon reap the rewards.
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We run very successful LinkedIn workshops for salespeople at all levels, and for businesses who want their prospecting to be more productive than it is currently.
Remember…your LinkedIn profile is your own personal business website, and prospects can find out a great deal about you, so make sure you follow these guidelines to keep yourself at the top of the rankings.
Here are my top tips on how to make LinkedIn work successfully for you:
1) Make sure you invest time to do it right. Many salespeople will have a profile, set it up and then leave it. Just like a website that has references to old events, or brochures from three years ago, people will not look at your unused site with any degree of relish.
2) The Google search engines love LinkedIn. In fact, if you type your name and company into Google, you most often find your LinkedIn profile comes up first. Try it. Type your name and company into the search engine, and see if your LinkedIn account comes up top of the list. If it does, this will be the first port of call for your prospects who are searching out information about you. This means you have to make sure it’s up-to-date and showing you off in the best light.
3) Make sure you use the key words that people will be using to search for you. Just as you would with your company website, you should think through which keywords prospects will be using when they make a search for your type of services. Put these keywords in your Professional Headline, Summary and Experience. That way, the “relevancy” search engines will drive people to your site.
4) When people ask to connect with you, and you decide to accept, always thank them for doing so, and send them something of value immediately. If it’s a potential prospect that you’ve just connected up with, make sure they see the value you can offer straight away. Send a link to a whitepaper you have written, or a part fo your company website where they can download valuable free information. Make it worthwhile to connect up with you.
5) Get a professional-looking picture. LinkedIn’s recent changes have accentuated the need to have a really good quality picture of yourself. Something that is better on Facebook, or, worse, no picture at all, will create the wrong image of you and make the prospect look but not be impressed. Some people have commented that the picture makes the biggest impression, so make sure you get one that shows you off in the right light.
In part two, we’ll look at how you can use LinkedIn to get referrals and improve your business opportunities.
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There are many ways that you can use social media these days to improve your standing in your market place. But, if you are serious about your personal brand and how you can get your name out and about, a professional and personal LinkedIn business page is a key to your success in sales.
With over 175 million people now on Linkedin, it is proving itself to be one of the best networking tools for sales people who want to prospect effectively and get their personal brand out their in the market place. Here are four areas that will enhance your chances of making it work for you, and adds to the areas already discussed on making your page look really professional
* LinkedIn is changing the format of personal profiles so that your photograph has a much bigger impact than previously. The photo is applied on many more occasions, especially when it is referring to your connections, so it is more vital than ever to get a good quality, professional-looking photo taken. Remember, people will (rightly or wrongly) have opinions about the quality of products or services you offer by the quality of your business photo. And it IS a business photo that’s required; leave the fun or party photos to your Facebook page, if you have them available at all.
* Your headline will appear whenever you link up with someone, place a link, request a connection, or add media. You have up to 120 characters to use in your headline, so I advise you use them to include keywords that people will be using when they search.
My headline include what I do and also the value that I offer. If you know what people will be typing in the search engines to find someone like you, then find a way to put those words in your headline. They will follow you wherever you go.
* Your summary is vital to complete effectively, if you want to appear high up in the LinkedIn search engines. It needs to be keyword-rich, so the searches will find the you easily when people are seeking someone like you. Make sure you include what you do and how you do it, and include words that show how you add value to companies and individuals that would benefit from using you.
* Join appropriate Groups. This is a must if you are to start linking up with quality prospects. It might not be possible for you to link up with 3rd or even 2nd connections, but with group members, you can send them a message without connecting or knowing their email address.
Suppose you would like to connect with a prospect in a particular company you have been courting. You can check their profile and determine the groups they belong to. You might want to see if any of those groups would be useful for you to join. When you join a group your prospect belongs to, you can send them valuable messages, without trying to sell them anything, and link up with them on a professional basis.
That’s the real value of groups. They allow you to strike up relationships with prospects and to build value in dealing with you. Check the best groups to belong to and it opens up opportunities to communicate and connect with thousands of people who have the same interests as you.
Be aware of how powerful this media is, and you’ll add value to all your prospects while building up your own personal brand with clients who need your services.
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LinkedIn is THE professional platform to be involved with, and if you are not on it by now then you really are missing out.
LinkedIn is full of opportunities for every executive, sales professional and business owner to generate leads for their business and engage with those all important decision makers – but how do you ensure that your LinkedIn account is a professional as you are?
Well, here are 5 top tips to take your LinkedIn account from office rookie to high-flying executive.
You need to think of your LinkedIn profile as being a 24 hour, worldwide advertisement for yourself and your company – so are you keeping it up to date? Having a 100% complete profile is a must if you want to use the LinkedIn platform to the best of its abilities, and it is so important to ensure that you regularly update your status updates and recommendations on the platform.
You need to look at your LinkedIn Profile as if you were a potential client who has never met you before and wants to know more about you – does your profile do you justice?
Time Is Money
What exactly are you hoping to get out of LinkedIn? Are you looking for a new career? Trying to build up your business connections and generate new leads? Or are you looking to position yourself as an industry expert and leading authority in your field?
You need to be clear about why you have chosen to use the platform to ensure that you are getting real value out of the time you spend on the site. So many LinkedIn users just waste their time on the platform, simple because they are not actively seeking a purpose – so ensure you know what you want out of your time and make the time you spend on the site count.
The Opportunities Are Endless
Every time you connect with a new person on LinkedIn, you immediately become connected to all of their contacts, so your network on the site is ever-growing. The key to getting the most out of your connections on the site is to not only network and engage within your own connections but to also seek out which of your connections contacts might be a valuable connection for you.
Take the time to assess your 2nd Degree connections – there might be some real VIPs right under your nose and you don’t want to miss out on getting that all important introduction to them as they could mean big opportunities for you and your company.
Don’t Be Selfish
When it comes down to it, LinkedIn is still a social networking site, so don’t be anti-social. You will not build your presence on the site by being selfish with your activity, so make sure you regularly contribute to other people’s discussions rather than just posting your own – and contribute something of real value, don’t just make everything you do on the site about self-promotion.
Do You Want To Be In My Gang?
The LinkedIn Groups are a great way to engage with and prospect for new leads, so why not consider starting a group of your own?
By creating a group closely related to your industry, you can immediately see who on LinkedIn is interested in the products and services you provide – think about it, they wouldn’t have joined your group if the first place if they weren’t! You don’t even have to go looking for new prospects, as they will come to you in the form of new group members.
You can then use your own group to network and engage with potential new clients, as well as sharing all of your great content with them and demonstrating to them why you would be a valuable connection for them to have.
I came across this brilliant infographic from Intel the other day and I just had to share it with you all.
As you can see, some of the statistics in this image are staggering! For me, the following figures really jumped out at me:
And why do these figures in particular stand out to me I hear you ask? Well, put simply, these astonishing statistics go a long way to proving the real value of using social media and the internet within your business. If you are not online, engaging and interacting with your prospects and current client base on these platforms then you are surely missing out – and that is each and every minute of the day!
There are so many ways in which you can use social media and the internet to help you prospect, network and engage with key decision makers online – all you need is the know how. If you would like more information about how you can tap into these fantastic figures and make them work for your own business, then please leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.
As always, my focus in these Techy Tuesday blogs is to keep you update to date with the latest and greatest ways you can use social media and other internet based resources to prospect, network and engage with key decision makers online – and this week is no different!
This week I have been doing some research into a new LinkedIn application called Company Buzz, to find out if the hype around the new feature is valid and how you can really use it as a legitimate business tool.
As a sales professional or business owner it’s so important to keep on top of your company’s reputation and be aware of any influential changes and developments in your industry, and this is exactly what the Company Buzz application does for your business.
This application is a great tool which combines both your LinkedIn and Twitter accounts to display real-time tweets and LinkedIn updates relating to your company and any other specific search terms you request on your LinkedIn profile.
You can search on any word relating to you, your company, your products and services or your industry and see all of the recent tweets and LinkedIn updates related to that term.
You can then narrow down your search results by loads of different categories, including location, company, degree of connection, industry, time frame, update type and job title. You can then save these results and even share them to your profile. Company Buzz also shows you what words and links are currently trending around your chosen search term, and gives you a historical overview of the buzz surrounding your search terms over time.
So now that you know what the Company Buzz application is all about, how can you use it to your advantage?
Well, as with many of the great features LinkedIn has to offer, you can use Company Buzz to prospect, listen in for leads and engage with key decision makers online.
As the application allows you to be so specific with your search results, you can create a search on yourself, your company, or the title of your latest blog post, and then narrow it down to just your first degree connections, in your chosen industry, in a specific location. You can even select just the CEOs or Managers from this selection, and only view the updates which have happen in the last couple of hours…so you are literally getting the most specific and up-to-date view of all those who are talking about you and your company on LinkedIn.
Now that you can see who has been tweeting about you, commenting about your company in the groups, and sharing your latest blog posts on their profile you can go in and engage with these connections directly – using the same techniques as you would implement when engaging with key decision makers through your LinkedIn Groups.
Taking this slightly further, you can choose to view only your second or third degree connections in this same way, and you can then build up a picture of which prospects are already on LinkedIn talking about you and your company, so that you can make an offer to connect with them and engage further with them .
Not only does the Company Buzz allow you keep on top of your company reputation and stay up-to-date with the latest developments in your industry, but when used in the right way it can also provide you with a great way to prospect and engage with key decision makers on LinkedIn.
That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.
I must have said it time and time again, but when it comes to modern day selling, sales professionals and business owners alike can find real value in the LinkedIn platform as a sales tool, as there is so much potential for you to prospect for and engage with new leads and current clients online.
I have frequently written about the different ways you can use LinkedIn to network with c-suite decision makers and build your internet footprint, but in today’s post I thought I would take you back to basics and show you how you should be maintaining your LinkedIn presence on a weekly basis.
You see, in order to get the best out of the platform you need to contribute frequently on LinkedIn, to ensure that you are always at the forefront of your prospects’ minds whenever they access the site.
Keeping up-to-date with your LinkedIn connections – as with any social media site – requires a certain level of dedication, but there are a few simple tasks you can pursue on a weekly basis to ensure that you maintain your presence on LinkedIn. After all, you have worked hard to build up your LinkedIn activity and you shouldn’t let this fall by the wayside simply due to time constraints, so here are 4 quick tips to help you manage your LinkedIn account on a weekly basis:
1. Keep Your Content Fresh
Generating new content consistently is a vital aspect of building your personal brand and positioning yourself as an industry expert in your field, ensuring that you are the go-to-guy when your prospects and searching for the products and services you provide online.
But more importantly than just generating new thought leadership content, is making sure that you distribute this in spaces where your prospects will find it. LinkedIn is a great platform for sharing your content and there are so many applications you can use to do this, so there is no reason why you shouldn’t have your most recent blog post on your profile, your latest business read on your Amazon Reading List and an up-to-date presentation on your Slideshare app.
The more content you distribute the more you will build your presence on the platform, and taking 5 minutes out of your week to ensure it is all up-to-date is definitely worth your while.
2. R&R – Recommend and Be Recommended
A recent survey by Nielsen found that 90% of consumers trust peer recommendations, so the fact that the LinkedIn platform gives you the opportunity to request and display your recommendations is a real bonus for any sales professional – so make the most of it.
Don’t be afraid to ask for recommendations via LinkedIn, and ensure that you follow up with this on a regular basis, as the more glowing recommendations you have for your work, the more trustworthy and reliable you will appeal to any prospects that land on your LinkedIn profile.
It’s also important that you are seen to recommend your LinkedIn connections whenever they ask, as few people will want to recommend you if you are selfish about returning the favour. Take half an hour at least once a month to request new recommendations from your satisfied clients, and return the favour for any connections who have requested one from you. After all, we all need a bit of R&R every now and again!
3. Take 10 To Make A Contribution
I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again: Your LinkedIn Groups are a hotbed of potential contacts, and contributing regularly to key discussions happening in these groups will help you to network and engage with more and more connections – as well as helping to build your profile as an industry expert.
Taking 10 minutes out of your day to contribute to 2 or 3 discussions via your LinkedIn groups or on the LinkedIn Answers platform will help to keep you at the forefront of relevant discussions surrounding your business.
4. Turn Your Business Cards Into LinkedIn Connections
As a sales professional or business owner, you’re likely to collect a tidy little pile of business cards from your meetings with your clients over the month, so don’t let these vital contacts go to waste. Instead, find a bit of time in your week to search for these contacts on LinkedIn and invite them to connect with you.
If you find that some are not currently on the platform then you can also use their information to invite them to join you as a LinkedIn member, which will give you an opportunity to engage with them further following on from your meeting.
An Hour A Week Is All It Takes
Prospecting, networking and engaging with key decision makers via LinkedIn doesn’t have to be taxing, and taking as little as an hour out of your week to keep yourself up-to-date on the platform will really help you get the most out of your activity on the site. By maintaining your presence on LinkedIn you are maintaining that all important contact with prospects and clients alike – and this is a hugely important factor in selling the modern way.
That’s all for now folks, see you again soon for another Techy Tuesday.
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Today’s buyers are a lot more sales savvy; they conduct research online about your products and services, your company and your competitors all with a few clicks of a mouse. The internet and social media in particular are now your buyers’ best friends, as it puts them in control of the modern day sales process, so what are you doing to redress this balance of power?
Here are some scary facts and figures for you:
The way your buyers make their purchasing decisions has changed, but are you changing the way that you sell? Social media can be a powerful sales tool when you know how to get the best from it, especially when it comes to using LinkedIn.
You’ve definitely heard of LinkedIn, you might even have a LinkedIn account and you’ve heard of the benefits and the power that LinkedIn can provide you in terms of prospecting and selling….but your LinkedIn account is just sitting there gathering dust simply because you don’t know what to do with it!
Or is it because you have yet to be convinced of the real value of the site? Well, he’s a few LinkedIn stats for you to digest:
Considering this information, it’s unsurprising to find out that in a recent survey conducted by advertising agency OgilvyOne found that 93% of UK sales professionals have received no training in using social media, and 53% of these want help with learning to use social media platforms as a business tool.
As a modern day sales professional it is so important to understand how to harness the power of LinkedIn for your business, and MTD Sales Training are here to help.
We have created a complimentary report for you which will help you to understand how to get the most out of LinkedIn as a business tool.
“Ultimate LinkedIn Essentials For Sales Professionals” is free to download and will show you how to tap into the potential goldmine of prospecting resources and additional sales opportunities that LinkedIn has to offer. With a killer profile and the right approach to hunt out, prospect and engage with your target market, you will maximise your prospecting time and generate qualified leads.
Simply click the link below to download your copy:
If you still need convincing of the power of LinkedIn or if there’s anything you would like to ask me then leave me a comment below and I will get back to you.
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