If you build it, they will come. –Field of Dreams
See Kurt Foedisch’s Blog this week,LinkedIn… It’s All About Leverage… isn’t it? for the prep work on the process outside of LinkedIn.
Sales is about process and people. Period. LinkedIn allows you to locate the right people, but you have to have a process in place that is in the world of human interaction, face-to-face meetings, and substance that allows you to be a trusted advisor and influencer in your field.
The LinkedIn Process:
- Dedicate a certain amount of time each day and base your activity on that time frame. See LinkedIn in 30 minutes for an idea of what a regular LinkedIn schedule might look like.
- Set up your saved searches. I recommend a search or two for prospects depending on how many ideal client profiles you actually have. Complete as much of the search criteria as possible in order to really narrow down your list. Add in a search for your perfect referral partners, and again, enter as much search criteria as possible to really narrow down the list. If you are looking to hire, then add in yet another saved search with specific criteria. If you are looking to change careers, then create a search with those criteria as well. Work your searches regularly, but be sure to narrow down the list until it becomes a manageable number of connections. Remember, it’s all about quality.
- Join LinkedIn Groups. Join groups that have your prospects in them, as well as groups within your company interests. Post something that pertains to each group once a week. If you dedicate 1/2; hour per day, then perhaps you might join 5 groups and dedicate a few minutes each day to any one of the five groups. Scroll through the discussions and comment where you can be of value. Keep in touch with your online community. Then use the advanced search feature to locate the right people within the group for you to meet. Send them a direct message via the LinkedIn Group and request some one-on-one time.
- The Publishing Platform is a great way to get your thoughts out there to your network and beyond. Write about the things that you care about. Write about things that will help other people in y our network. Then share it publicly or send it individually to the people that can use it most.
- Post to your Home Page. Find articles of interest and share them with your network and beyond.
- Stay in touch! LinkedIn does a wonderful job of letting us know when work anniversaries and birthdays approach for each of our 1 degree connections. Take a few minutes every day to wish your network well. This will also help keep you top of mind and may even open the door to reconnect with someone that you may be able to help.
- Look at Who’s Viewed Your Profile. Reach out to these folks if it makes sense for you. See who your common connector is and ask for the intro. They are obviously interested if they have taken the time to check you out. Send them a message and see how you can help them.
Use LinkedIn to connect, then take it off line. Meet for coffee, or schedule some time at a networking event, or perhaps set up a Skype meeting or web meeting. Give as much as you can and do not expect anything in return.
If you work the process the right way, you will flip the sales cycle and your network will come to you. Forget traditional sales and the pressure to close. No one likes being closed, and most people hate to close other people. So why do something that everyone hates?
Be the thought leader and connector. Provide value to your network, all the while keeping them informed of your products and/or services. They will come to you when they are ready. Trust me. Most buyers are already almost 70% through the buying cycle by the time they are ready to purchase. If you provide thought leadership, value, and become a center of influence right off the bat, you will reap the rewards. At AAL, we work this process and we help our clients work this very same process. It’s not easy. It takes a lot of hard work. But it is the most effective sales process we have seen to date. Focus on building the relationships and the rest will come.
- Be the first to give to your new business relationships
- Always pay it forward
- Network with purpose.
Good luck and good networking! Remember… It’s All About Leverage.
I’d appreciate your insight and feedback. Please let me know your thoughts and questions. I will do my very best to respond in a timely manner!