In the past 6 weeks I have given quite a few seminars to business owners and their salesforces. We cover how to effectively leverage LinkedIn for sales, prospecting and strengthening existing relationships. The feedback has been tremendous. I am helping people be more effective with the networks they already have in place. It also helps me personally in that I have stronger relationships with my clients because I am helping them grow their business.
There are quite a few tips that I have used, and here are a couple for you to think about:
1) Update the “My Website” link to display the actual web site name. For example, instead of “My Website” it should say “The Purple Guys” for me. Choose “Edit my Profile”, then click the “Edit” link next to the URL you want to change. In the dropdown that says “My Website” select “Other” instead and then the title of the link becomes editable. Put in what makes sense.
2) If you are on more than one social networking site, like Facebook, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Google Talk, Twitter, etc. then check out Ping.fm. This is an aggregator that allows you to post your current “What I am working on” status to all of those social networks at one time.
3) Be sure to get lots of recommendations from other people that you are LinkedIn with. IMHO, the best way to make this happen is to pick a connection and write up a recommendation for them. When they receive the email that you recommended them, they are asked if they approve the recommendation. Once they approve it, the site asks them if they would be willing to return the favor. Most will.
4) Whenever you are searching for someone on LinkedIn, always used the Advanced Search link to the right of the Search button. Narrow your search by changing the “Location” item from “Anywhere” to “Located in or near” and put in the zip code you are interested in. Then all you have to do is put in the name of the company to find everyone on LinkedIn that works for that company. You can also specify First and Last name to find a specific person. This way, you are not wading through pages of Jason Terry results, one of which may be an excellent basketball player. BTW, that is NOT me.
5) One of the most powerful features of LinkedIn is the ability to get an introduction to someone you DO NOT know through the relationship you have with someone you DO know. Try this. Do an advanced search on someone you want to talk to or meet. If they are in your network, you will see a window on the right side of the screen with the title “How you’re connected to ” In that window, LinkedIn will conveniently list the people you are connected with that have some kind of connection with the person you want to meet. If you are doing business in a concentrated geographic location, Kansas City for example, this tool is invaluable. You can quickly figure out which of your existing contacts can do a warm introduction to the person you want to meet.
If you are a company in Kansas City and are interested in knowing more about how to effectively leverage LinkedIn, social networking sites and “hidden web” document searches, send me an email. We provide 2 levels of seminars for a reasonable fee. The first is more of an introduction to LinkedIn. The second is an advanced prospecting process that includes LinkedIn as well as “hidden web” document searching.