In a perfect world, we'd all wake up, pour a cup of coffee, login to social media and find customers pounding down the virtual door to do business with us. Elusive dream? False promise? Or does LinkedIn require way too much work to make it remotely worthwhile?
Truth is, LinkedIn can be a sales powerhouse without a ton of work. Most folks just miss out on some of the basics. The following social media hack is very real and allows business people to cast fishing lines into the LinkedIn waters to nab great business opportunities. Using these techniques, my company has booked millions in revenue from new friends and clients reaching out directly from social.
A few simple steps will help you build a qualified LinkedIn prospect network with minimal investment and crazy cool results. We'll use LinkedIn as the example, but the same principles cut across the key social media channels.
Here's the five-step process:
1. Get LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
More expensive than LinkedIn Premium, but well worth it in terms of finding actual prospects. Sales Navigator is the only LinkedIn subscription that includes advanced search. At $79 per month or $780 for a full year, Sales Navigator provides easy-to-use powerful tools to research desirable customers. If you have LinkedIn Premium, cancel it. The advanced search tools are worth the extra $700-plus I spend each year.
2. Invest time into your LinkedIn profile header.
Your header is the big background image -- along with your profile picture (now stupidly round), job title, etc. The header has two purposes:
- Define you professionally at a glance.
- Entice people who view your profile to want to make a connection and befriend you.
Your LinkedIn header is your personal digital billboard. Use it. Promote your best, baby!
3. Craft prospect lists using Sales Navigator.
Seek people based on your most important criteria, including job title, industry, geography, postal code, current position, company size, seniority/juice within an organization and relevant keywords.
For example, a fashion distributor seeking business with big retailers could build a list based on keywords "apparel" and "fashion industry." Then, dig deeper by searching based on procurement job titles, experience level, and brand names such as Dillard's, Urban Outfitters or other brand names. The search results alone are worth the investment.
4. View 700 LinkedIn profiles each day.
This is the key tactic, but fear not -- you need not spend your day clicking on people's profiles. Consider having an intern cruise prospects on your behalf. Or look into inexpensive automated tools that can automatically visit your entire prospect list -- even scheduling followup views.
Here's what happens: People see that you checked them out on LinkedIn. A percentage of them will sense a connection and view you back. A fairly predictable percentage will send you connection requests, allowing you to decide the value of pursuing a relationship with them.
If people are not connecting with you, try a new header image or make your LinkedIn bio more compelling. Keep testing options to maximize prospecting results.
5. Use your robust network to sell.
Post relevant content for prospects to see. Comment on their posts. Interact! Some marketers get aggressive using direct messaging, which can work - or be a turnoff. Test the waters and see what works for you.
Here's the rub: Many professionals share little more than a digital resume on LinkedIn (yawn), then say to themselves, "Meh. Nobody interacts with me, so LinkedIn doesn't work." If such a statement sounds familiar, rethink your approach.
A little effort and minimal financial investment can transform your never-viewed digital LinkedIn resume into a powerful business research tool, networking platform and sales behemoth. Plus, you'll meet some really cool people along the way.