One of the boons of the Internet is its power to boost sales. Linkedin is a formidable tool to help boost sales. Let’s examine – how Linkedin can leverage your business success. To understand how it is possible, you must first know a bit about Linkedin. Linkedin is a business networking website that’s designed for networking among professionals. Over 50 million professionals from around 200 countries use Linkedin to stay connected with others in the business world. Executives from all the Fortune 500 companies are members of Linkedin. Professionals that are members of Linkedin represent 170 industries. The numbers are quite convincing, aren’t they? Now-a-days it seems almost everyone is a member of Linkedin.
The basic idea behind Linkedin was to create a platform to connect professionals across industries to help each other in finding business solutions and reaching career goals. Like with most networking websites you need to create a profile with Linkedin. Your profile should summarize your professional expertise and accomplishments succinctly. Then you can search for names and industries and invite people to read your profile and get connected with you. You can also trace your college friends, past colleagues, and current business associates to connect with them. You can also get connected with your contacts’ contacts.
It helps when you know where your target clients worked, where they went to school, and their hobbies. Also, you can know “who knows who”, which is a powerful tool. By going through the profiles of your clients and their contacts you can know about their educational background, career route, and hobbies; all these should help you in developing a good rapport with the target client.
Create an Impressive Profile
Remember that you are letting others to view your profile, so it better be good. Always use images that can convey strong professional messages about your brand. Use your Powerpoint business presentations in your profile. You can make your profile impressive by connecting your website and blogs to the Linkedin account. While creating the profile you should use keywords that are relevant to your industry and business. This makes you more visible in Linkedin searches.
The Smart Way to Get Connected on Linkedin
Though you can introduce yourself and your company directly to a target client its better that you take the help of someone that is close to your client. That way your chances of getting a warm response increase. Sometimes 3rd, 4th, or 5th level contacts also may work, but it’s better to get introduced to a target client with one of your direct contacts.
Recommend and Get Recommended
Recommend people that you trust. This is a pro active approach to helping others in meeting their business goals. You become a vital link to their business. You then stand the chance of getting recommended by others as a reciprocal gesture. Ask to get recommended. Especially after doing business with a client satisfactorily ask them to recommend you on Linkedin.
Replacing Cold Calls
There are many people that do not like to receive cold calls and sales professionals have to endure the pain of facing rejections from such people. Instead of pestering people in organizations you can send Emails using your Linkedin account to people that even remotely matter to you. The success rate with this method is encouraging. Three out of ten Emails elicit responses and one out of those three responses lead to a meeting. That is usually not the case with cold calls.
Trace Your Contacts
When you are able to sell someone invite him to join your Linkedin network. If your clients leave the organizations that they worked when you sold to them you can trace where they have gone and keep selling to them.
Make Linkedin Your Homepage
The moment you open the browser you will know what others in your Linkedin network doing. You will also know who has been checking your profile. Stay in touch with your contacts. Try sending emails every week to some of your contacts. Linkedin users testify that some of these emails do turn into live opportunities.
Use Other Tools with Linkedin
Google reader very often has questions from Linkedin users. At the time of writing this article I went to Google reader with my Google account and typed “sales” in the search box. The search led to a list of queries from the Linkedin Answers page. Some of the queries are posed by buyers that are looking to really buy. If it relates to your product, you have almost found a buyer. Others are just seeking information. By answering their queries if you have the answer or simply recommending someone you know, you can at least create an opening.
These tips are based on the testimonials of Linkedin users. So the next time you get a client’s name or business card you know what to do.
About the Author:
Doug Dvorak helps companies and professionals achieve results through customized, creative and non-traditional sales training systems that are “one size fits one” and developed to the unique business needs and “sales pain points” of each client. He is available to speak on these topics.
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Copyright 2008 The Sales Coaching Institute, Inc.
Sales Skills Training Strategic Sales Coaching
Doug Dvorak, CEO of DMG International, is the Author of the forthcoming book “Build Your Own Brand” (Pelican, 2009)