LinkedIn Advice Blog - what is LinkedIn and how can it help you generate business?
To start with I want to say I am in no way a LinkedIn ‘guru’ but I want to share with you the things I have achieved since joining Professional Academy that has helped to promote our services and assisted in me having conversations about how I can help businesses with their training, conversations I may not have had if I was to cold call from the endless list of numbers I have in front of me. Now don’t get me wrong, not everything I have done has been on linkedIn – I do have hundreds of prospective customers on lead lists I have purchased and every single day I make calls to them as it can work effectively but utilising the tools on linkedin has just proved to be more effective so far.
What are the cost benefits?
How much money do you spend buying data? Buying an email address or contact number for a prospect and what quality is this data? How many times have you bought data and called the number of this prospect to find out the person you are trying to reach no longer works for the company or better still the company has actually closed down? As well as the financial implications of this, how much time have you spent trying to reach someone to find out they no longer work for the company or have changed position? Just some of the questions you find yourself asking when getting frustrated at the lack of conversations or pitches you are actually doing.
No matter which way you look at it everything has become digital. Companies use LinkedIn now to not only generate business but to actually form how their business grows – how many times have you seen a company let their customers decide which product to release or what style of product they prefer on Social Media?! It is incredible to think that a business can simply post a picture of two identical products other than for example the colour and let their customers decide which is best before putting the sample into production – this must save companies a fortune and lets face it, they can see what is popular before releasing anything at all thus ensuring they do not waste time or money on inferior products!! It is truly an incredible world we live in now and LinkedIn is not different, it is just a professional platform where you can not only sell yourself but sell the services your company has to offer.
This may sound obvious but LinkedIn is up-to-date and relevant. When you change job you advertise the fact you have on LinkedIn and you update your employment history along with advertising what you are doing now, always ensuring you congratulate others as well when they have changed their role. A simple congratulations can go a long way as it stays in their mind you took the time to say ‘well done’ on their move – everyone loves to talk about themselves which is a simple sales tip which works.
How I used LinkedIn to my advantage.
So what did I do on LinkedIn to promote this?! Well the first thing I needed was connections, I needed to connect with relevant people, so in this instance, L&D Directors/Managers, Sales Directors, HR Directors, Marketing Directors – these are the decision makers I want to be promoting our services to so I spent time searching for these via the search tool on LinkedIn. I must add that I have a ‘free’ account with LinkedIn so search results and options are limited but this will give you an idea of the numbers you can reach out to without actually paying for the “data”.
When I joined Professional Academy I had just over 1,000 connections built up over 4 years of recruitment and were previous customers of mine which I find important to keep hold of because I will be their first point of call should they require any training within their business now. As of today I have 3,204 connections but more importantly I have in my network over 14million professionals. What this means is that anything I post could theoretically be seen by 14 million people – staggering when you think about it!! Could you call that many people in your lifetime…………?
What is the best practice for Sales people on LinkedIn?
The thing to remember with LinkedIn is to remain professional at all times – do not connect to every Tom Dick and Harry because you will be viewed as someone who is ‘spamming’ people to generate business, essentially that is what we are going to do but you must remain relevant and professional at all times. This is vital in order to keep LinkedIn as the professional platform it is designed to be.
There are many ways you can connect to prospects. You can simply search for connections so if I were to use my prospects as an example, I would search for “Learning and Development Manager or Director” this would then give me thousands of relevant connections I could connect with. One of my other methods which is not only useful for finding the right connections but is also a great way of keeping up with the industry is Groups. Groups are a great way of promoting your services as well as connecting to the right people. People join groups to discuss topics that are relevant to the name of that group – so for instance, we offer accreditation from the ISMM and by joining this group I can keep up to date with everything the ISMM is doing but also within there will be potential clients who have an interest in the ISMM as well. Another example is a group called ‘Training Managers’ what more can I say about that?! It is full of people I want to speak with so input in this group is vital – always make sure you have input/give advice on discussions as it gets your name out there and again in front relevant prospects.
I have always been courteous with every connection I have made as well. A simple ‘thank you for connecting with me’ will go a long way to introducing your services. It is also a great way of getting connections as well – you can see who has recently viewed your profile, and they must be viewing it for a reason so if you notice you are not connected already, send them a quick message asking if you can connect and if you can be of assistance to them or their business.
Now I have a lot of connections (growing every day) I can promote our services in a ‘non formal’ way as well. I have used topical subjects to not only promote us but to also make people smile – for example I posted the below before the Brazil v Germany game:
Ironically Brazil lost 7.1 which was topical because had they worked as a team they may have progressed and Professional Academy is all about training teams of people……….
I have also used it to promote Seminars we are holding, offers we have, previous blogs we have written to help others but also to get our name out there. Just remember, if one person likes your update it will be seen by all of their connections as well as yours!! Keep it relevant and topical but always promote your business.
There are many other ways you can utilise LinkedIn and I have only really touched the tip of these so with it only being a month into my career at Professional Academy and using LinkedIn effectively i will be blogging again in the future about other methods/tips I have gained going forward. Please feel free to connect with me and send any useful tips or experiences you have had using LinkedIn to generate business as I will make sure it is mentioned within the next blog – Andy Hart, Professional Academy Learning & Development Advisor