This post first appeared via Robert Sofia on LinkedIn
By now, you’ve heard plenty of commentary praising LinkedIn for its lead-producing power. But how much success have you personally had? Here are three simple ways you can start growing your business by leveraging this powerful social tool.
1. Search, Then Share
Don’t get so caught up hunting down new connections that you ignore the rich network of people you’re already connected to. If you’ve had your LinkedIn account for a while, there are likely some fantastic prospects at your fingertips.
After you login to your account, there is a link that says “Advanced” at the top the page next to the search field. Clicking this will take you to a list of your connections. From here, you can search, sort and filter contacts in a number of really cool ways.
Spend a little time here, running different searches and looking for people who may be good prospects. If you can identify some former colleagues, local business leaders or others who might benefit from the help of a talented financial expert, reach out to them.
You don’t have to come right out and offer a financial review, but you can always share something of value like a tax-saving tip. All it may take is a casual message like:
“Hey Jim! It’s been a while. How are you and your family? I’d love an update! Look, I know you’re a busy guy and people hit you up all the time so I promise to keep this brief. I’ve been helping [TOWN NAME] business owners save money on their taxes and squirrel away a little extra for retirement by using this strategy and I thought you would want to know about it. The info is free. Just call me if you have any questions. Here’s a link with some details [URL TO LANDING PAGE] Maybe we can grab lunch sometime!”
Schedule time to follow this message up with another message or a phone call in two weeks.
2. Leverage Reciprocity
The “Home” section of LinkedIn features a newsfeed similar to that of other social networks. Here you can see what your network is sharing, but you also get to see much more. You can see updates such as:
- Work anniversaries
- Recent connections
- Liked content
- New jobs and titles
- Profile updates
All of these updates give you a chance to connect over something current and meaningful. Congratulate people on their job changes or simply ask them a question or two about their new venture to start a conversation.
Here’s something else you can try. Click on one of your connection’s profiles. Endorse their skills or expertise and recommend them as a colleague, service provider, business partner or otherwise. After you complete any of these actions, your connection will receive a notification of what you’ve just done for them.
Then, instead of waiting for them to send a reply, go the extra mile and follow up with a personalized note like:
“I’ve been following your work for a while and really appreciate what you’ve done, so I endorsed you for [SKILL]. As a financial advisor who works with hundreds of clients in our area, perhaps there is a way I can send some business your way. Do you have five minutes for a quick phone call sometime this week?”
3. Find Introduction Junction (Hint: It’s Not Online)
When you click on the “Advanced” link next to the search bar at the top of the page, you can go a step deeper by mining your network for second degree connections. Close the “1st Connections” and “Group Members” tabs to show “2nd Connections” by themselves. All these people are only one conversation away from you!
As you browse through their profiles it will show you how you’re connected in green. Clicking the link will show your mutual connection(s). How can you use this information?
In person or by telephone, ask your existing connection something like:
“I notice that you’re connected to Janet Smith on LinkedIn. How well do you know her? … Great! I’ve wanted to meet her for a long time. What do you think is the best way to do that?”
Then simply offer to buy breakfast, lunch, drinks, a round of golf or any other socially acceptable way to meet people in your town. The three of you get together, and voila – a new prospect!
These are just a few of the many ways to generate prospects on LinkedIn. Of course, for any of this to work, you must schedule time to actively use social media. Passive observers with inactive profiles get few if any return on their social media investment.