Turbo-Charge your referral development, sales and networking abilities by using LinkedIn. This post will give you 10 practical and useful tips on how to use LinkedIn to make you professionally and personally more successful……Guaranteed!!!
Savvy business people are increasingly using LinkedIn as a primary source of new leads and tangible revenue. In fact, for business to business, LinkedIn is a critical tool that can make your prospecting faster, smoother and, ultimately, more profitable. With over 150 million members worldwide, LinkedIn is one of the major social and business networks. What I am sharing with you, I leaned from a colleague who help me re-design my LinkedIn profile and also how to better use it. I have already recognized the benefits of my improved use of LinkedIn through both new business and an expanded network approaching 20,000 people. There are several great articles you can find on the internet on how to better use LinkedIn. Take the time and look around. Here are 10 tips I recommend you consider as you start your journey to becoming a super-user of this valuable tool.
Tip 1: Never miss a chance to connect
The first piece of advice I received was get serious about LinkedIn and take a long hard look at your contacts. Contacts are the currency of LinkedIn. If your contacts are predominantly family, friends and old school pals, you’ve got some work to do. I went from spending a few hours a week on LinkedIn to a few hours a day!! I start and end my day on LinkedIn. Connections be-get connections. Your first level contacts open up a route to a wide range of second and third level connections. This is how you scale your network and grow it. Whenever you meet anyone always follow up quickly with a connection request while you are still fresh in their mind.
Tip 2: Discover the power of Relationship Mapping
Follow the rule of “the six degrees of Kevin Bacon”. Use LinkedIn to map out the decision makers within the organizations you are targeting. I deal with large complex health systems and organizations, so there can be numerous people involved in making and influencing a decision. This approach is also useful for smaller B2B sales. You’d be surprised how much information people put in their profiles. What projects they are working on. The strategic directions the company is taking, etc. With a little detective work, you can quickly create a clear picture of the opportunities.
Tip 3: Better quality calls
Cold calls will become a thing of the past! With LinkedIn, there really is little or no excuse for going into any call totally cold. With LinkedIn, you can almost always learn enough about someone to make your call more meaningful, focused and relevant. When you make an invite to join your network, make the note you send personal. And away thank the person for accepting your invite. I find it helps break the ice. Plus it shows I’ve gone to more trouble than 90% of the other people who call them. I pay particular attention to changes in profile, status updates, connections we have in common and anything they’ve posted to a group (which can be reason enough to call them in the first place). Also, with a paid account, you can see expanded profiles of everyone on LinkedIn (not just those of your immediate contacts). This provides even more useful insights you can use to make a real-life connection.
Tip 4: Avoid the Gatekeeper!
IN Mail is LinkedIn’s internal email system and allows you to send an email to any LinkedIn user without requiring an introduction. Basically, it ensures your email gets through to their inbox. LinkedIn claims that an IN Mail is 30 times more likely to get a response than a cold call. IN Mails are only available on paid accounts so consider an upgrade. The higher level the account you have, the more you get. On the entry-level business account you’ll get three IN Mails each month. Get serious and upgrade as it is well worth it.
Tip 5: A smarter way to search
LinkedIn has a fabulous search facility. With their advanced search you can find people by title, company, location or keyword. Grab a paid account and you can add company size and seniority level also. By intelligently mixing the different filters you can get really deep and identify key individuals quickly and easily.
Tip 6: Keep an eye on what is going on with your account
People come and go, especially in health care. Keep an eye of what is going in the organizations you are targeting. LinkedIn makes discovering these changes easy. You can follow any organization that has a LinkedIn page. That way you’ll see anything that changes directly in your updates. It’s an easy way to stay up to date and spot new opportunities.
Tip 7: Become a “groupie”
Join as many groups as you can. The dialogue in these groups is a wonderful way to learn about industry trends as well as people. Groups are incredibly useful in three other ways:
- They can give you further insights into what’s happening within a prospect Organization – how active they are, whether they’re hiring etc.
- They allow you to learn more about the individual details of folks you are interested in.
- Group membership gives you both the reason and capability to make more connections.
Tip 8: Put your profile to work for you!
Make sure you include current links to your company site, your Twitter account and Facebook page. Completely fill out all the areas in your profile. Don’t shy. The goal here is to achieve high-visibility. You should also get some high quality recommendations – especially from existing folks you work for!! This will give people visiting your profile a better idea of what you’re like as a person. Remember, people buy and refer to people!! Finally, always add a photo and video. It makes you more tangibly real and creates a good impression. Make sure it’s a good quality shot!!
Tip 9: Who is looking at you??
The first thing I do every time I sign onto LinkedIn is to look back at who has looked at my profile. Unless someone sets their profiles to anonymous, you can click on the “Who’s viewed your profile?” link and see a list of them. The free account limits how many you can see while paid accounts give you the whole list. Here is how to use this “look-back-trick”:
- The fact that someone looked at your profile is a good excuse to reach out with a connection request.
- If you look at other people’s profiles, a certain proportion will always look back.
Tip 10: Participate
As I said in the begging, spend time nurturing your “garden” Participate in on-line dialogue with your groups. Express your opinions and become a though-leader. Update your profile as often that makes sense. Seek out new people to invite to your network. You only will get out what you put in.