Since I just wrote a post about LinkedIn Answers, I thought I would post part of a blog post I found for two reasons:
1. It shows how someone used a LinkedIn question to gain valuable information;
2. The answers is pretty relevant to finding relevance in connecting on LinkedIn.
The question was asked by Jill Konrath
Question: As a seller, how do you use LinkedIn to increase your sales?
Explanation: I’m writing an article for my Selling to Big Companies newsletter on this topic. I’d like to include specific examples to help my readers learn how they can leverage this tool. Since I’m a bit of a technophobe, my experience with Linked In is rather limited. If you can tell me how you’ve used LinkedIn to open doors, create opportunities and grow your business, I’d really appreciate it.
Social media guru Scott Allen, coauthor of The Virtual Handshake and managing director at Link to Your World, was the first to respond. Here are his invaluable suggestions:
LinkedIn can be used to support the entire sales lifecycle: lead generation, sales acceleration and solution delivery. Let’s look at each of these pieces:
Find and be found. Search by title and industry for the ideal contacts at your ideal customers. Search by title and company name for specific target customers. Be sure your profile is complete and contains the appropriate keywords for your business so that people looking for your solution will find you. Endorsements/recommendations count for a lot – get them from people who have actually been your clients if at all possible.
Search for people in your prospect’s company who are not closely involved in your deal – preferably 2nd degree contacts, not 3rd degree. Ask for an informational interview. This is where strong, trusted relationships count for a lot – “light linking” breaks down here.
Ask your interview subject about the priorities that are going on at the company — what are the high-level factors that might be influencing the buying process. Be completely open/transparent. If you have a good solution and a really good referral to a true “friend of a friend”, you will very likely find an internal champion in that person. This is the #1 technique that LinkedIn supports better than any other tool.
Quite often, especially for small businesses, you can’t do it all yourself. LinkedIn is invaluable for finding partners with particular skill sets who can help you deliver the total solution. In addition to searching, you can post questions asking about the solution area you need expertise in and use that as a way to attract potential partners.