LinkedIn Is It Really That Great?
|Tags:||LinkedIn, Sales Training, social media, networking|
Lots of people are talking about LinkedIn – especially in context of using it to generate more sales opportunities and leads. Are you?
For those of you unfamiliar with LinkedIn, the concept is fairly straightforward. It’s an online social networking tool like Facebook but for business. You create your own personal profile with employment history, education and you start “linking” to people on the site that you know or have done business with in the past.
It’s important to be open about your ‘own’ LinkedIn connections as whilst you can hide your own connections you are then not really utilizing the power of the network. There are over 100 Millions LinkedIn users worldwide.
Your profile (either for your own company or yourself) is a great reference point for potential clients. Within LinkedIn there is the ability for people you have worked with to recommend to others your product/service. And publish this to your own profile.
Imagine if 10, 50 or even 100 people have recommended you or your product; how confident would they then be in you?
As your network grows (and it can grow very quickly) you will start to see connections that may be able to help directly or indirectly with your own products/services you sell. LinkedIn also has a strong tool to import your address books and then select people to invite to connect with you.
You can import from Outlook, Google, Yahoo, Hotmail, and several more. So do it. Connect to people, and invite a bunch of people that you know to connect with you and to try the service. Connections sometimes approach you as well and the more connections means more future opportunities.
It’s easy to imagine how this network would grow quickly, putting you in potential contact with lots of new people through introductions of the folks you already know.
The ability to research prospects/customers and drill down to see who works there and even if someone in your network is connected to them is very powerful.
Even if you don’t know them directly there is a chargeable option (that’s how they make money) to send what’s called an ‘Inmail’ to them directly introducing yourself and company.
Another great feature of LinkedIn is that it allows you to find connections when they move from one job to another. What if an old colleague changed jobs, didn’t tell you, and is now working at a company that you want to sell to?
In a similar fashion to Facebook you have status updates. Rather than updating others on your social activities, you can update your audience on product offers, business news etc.
And when your network is running into the hundreds or even thousands it’s a brilliant way to communicate to a very select, targeted group of people. Use it selectively though as overloading people with status updates ultimately leads to them removing you from there network!
Join groups that are useful and/or relevant or even create your own group. Then get involved. If you have something to say about a particular question posted, say it.
Alternatively, if you need help or guidance, post your question and see what happens. It might net you some more awareness, and that might find you someone who doesn’t know you personally, but maybe wants to get to know you.
This doesn’t replace the hard graft of actually picking up the phone, taking the meeting, closing the deal. It's just another tool, a very useful tool in helping you generate more business.
By: John Perrin
|Mande says: Posted: July 27th, 2011|