This article is a GuestPost by Ovi Negrean.
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People go to Facebook for funny cat videos, pictures of their friends’ babies and to brag about their latest holidays and acquisitions. But they go on LinkedIn to do business. And there’s lots of profitable business to be done on this social media platform.
In his book, Connect: The Secret LinkedIn Playbook To Generate Leads, Build Relationships, And Dramatically Increase Your Sales, Josh Turner teaches us how to harness the power of LinkedIn.
Below, you will find 10 things you can start implementing today to grow your business on LinkedIn:
1. Don’t jump on the sell
The traditional sales model is outdated and does not really work anymore – if it ever really did. You first need to approach your possible clients by making contact with them. Try to know their business as much as possible.
Define yourself as an expert in their field. This way, when they need help, they will remember you and set up a meeting.
2. It’s all about relationships
This is what it all comes down to. You need to take some extra steps. Don’t bombard your potential clients with messages, cold calls or ads. Keep it cool and make small talk, give them some free advice, offer possibilities of collaboration or share interesting articles.
And if you can, be funny. Maybe don’t start with “A salesman, a recruiter and a business developer join a LinkedIn group” though.
Slowly, you can set up a call or a meeting. But again – it is more important to try to understand their needs instead of pushing for a sale. Marketing these days is all about trust and relationships. Because the market is so wide and diverse, people choose other people whom they are familiar with.
3. Track your data using simple tools
“What gets measured gets improved” – Peter Drucker. You will need to be able to improve your results. But how can you do this if you don’t know what they are?
Connect will present some examples of keeping track of all the information you have about your potential clients and your interactions with them. You might feel that it’s a bit overwhelming at first sight, but once you develop and customize your own system, you will save a lot of time and energy.
4. Create your own LinkedIn group
A great way to make new connections on LinkedIn is to create a group in your area of expertise. Invite decision makers and people who are in high positions in other companies to join that group.
Do not promote your products or services intensely or from the beginning. Fill the group with relevant articles, start discussions and small debates and only after people see you as an expert in that field you can start promoting (not too aggressively though). Mention that if they need help, they can contact you for further assistance.
5. Online research can be boring, but it takes less time than in-person meetings
On LinkedIn, you have access to thousands of other people just like you. You need to check other groups. Send personalized messages a few weeks apart in order to establish initial contact and slowly build a relationship.
It might take some time, but if you also create and manage a group, your results will be amazing. You would not have time to meet this many people in person and become friends with all of them.
LinkedIn gives you the chance to set yourself apart in your field and to make contact with others from the same level. As the author said:
“Facebook is for your personal relationships, LinkedIn is for your professional relationships.”
6. Offer valuable information
Don’t start your virtual life on LinkedIn with your selling offers. Don’t be that guy. People are fed up with them and they will most likely ignore you.
Instead, make sure they know what you do and what you can offer – by sharing good content, relevant articles, starting discussions and inviting people to join in. Mention that you think they might have something valuable to add and that they are more than welcome to share their opinions with the group.
Webinars are a great way of adding value to your portfolio as well. Try to create a free webinar with a lot of useful information. Then promote it and encourage people to join. At the end of the webinar, you have the choice to mention a bit about your services, but again, try not to be too aggressive.
You can follow up with an email or a call to see the feedback from the participants, make some small talk and slowly work your way towards your main goal: presenting your services.
7. Craft your LinkedIn messages carefully
When you send a message on LinkedIn or even an email, try to put yourself in the position of your potential client. What’s in it for them? They receive maybe hundreds of messages per day and most of them go to the Trash because they follow the same boring pattern.
Instead, try to keep it short and clear. The first message should be just a small “Hi, I saw you are interested in this… and you work in this field. I thought this article might be useful for you. Would love to hear your opinion on it.”
Try to keep this informal, so that the others perceive you as their peer, not as their inferior.
In the second message, you might try to invite them to join a discussion on a group or to attend your webinar and, according to the responses you got so far, you can find out more about their business and present yourself as a potential collaborator.
The content of the messages should be appealing, short and casual.
8. People respond to things they are familiar with
This idea comes from the field of evolutionary psychology. We do not perceive things that we are familiar with as being threats. It’s how we’re wired.
So before you engage yourself in a lengthy and boring presentation about your products or services, make yourself visible to your potential clients in a non-threatening way.
By sharing interesting articles, developing webinars and setting yourself as the expert in that field, they will remember you when they need someone in that area and they will contact you.
9. Webinars connect you to the whole world
This is what’s so great about the Internet. You can be anywhere in the world, at any hour and still work and get results. Just think about a webinar.
Potential clients can attend from anywhere, the cost are highly reduced because it’s not like a conference where you need to book a flight and a hotel. Plus, you can speak to thousands of people at the same time.
10. A successful webinar is a promoted webinar
You can have great content and a very engaging webinar. But if people don’t show up, it will be a waste of time. Try to come up with an attractive title and find creative ways to promote it.
Go to other social media websites and invite your contacts to join. If your response rate is not the one you expect, try to present the webinar again the next day. You can record your webinar and even edit it, so from your part it will not be a lot of effort.
Mention that you are doing this because many people who wanted to attend did not get the chance because of the working hours. Put the two seminars at different times of the day to try and figure out which one works best for your audience.
As with anything, creating a LinkedIn strategy that works takes time and lots of work. But if done properly, it will pay off in the end.
If you want to get the summary of the Connect book among with some of its best nuggets, you can do so here.
Author: Ovi Negrean