20 million. And that’s just the UK. Globally it’s over 400 million.
What am I talking about?
The user base of the world’s largest professional networking site – LinkedIn
Now I know some of you will be thinking – these are not my clients, or how do I find potential clients in amongst that 20 million. Well your potential clients are on there and they are easier to find than you might think. Before I show you, let’s look at some real examples.
- In their post announcing the UK milestone LinkedIn quoted the example of entrepreneur Jess Ratty. She was refused a bank loan for her camper van rental company, so turned to her LinkedIn network. From her base in a small, seaside village, Jess had access to a global community who shared their knowledge and experience to help her succeed, and she hasn’t looked back since.
- I blog every week and always post links to my blog as status updates. One of y connections is an avid reader and being constantly reminded of me being there meant that when she heard about a contract in Norway she immediately thought of me. A few calls and meetings later and I had a 6 month contract in Norway.
- A simple re-connection prompted by a birthday reminder from LinkedIn put me back in conversation with a client I did some work for around 5 years ago. They are now looking for an upgrade to that system so I have a new opportunity.
- Connecting and engaging in the right way lead to a property networking event host securing a sought after high profile speaker to talk at her monthly meeting. Not only that, but she secured an affiliate link so that anything he sold on his visit to the UK generated her a sizeable commission.
- A connection of a colleague was having a few legal problems with a property he owned in Portugal. Using LinkedIn’s advanced search he was able to find and connect with a bi-lingual lawyer conversation with Portuguese property law and the problem was on the way to being solved.
These are just a few of examples of the power of LinkedIn and why you need to be leveraging that power for your business.
So how do you leverage LinkedIn?
Powerful Personal Profile
LinkedIn is all about people. People like to buy from people so the personal profile is at the heart of everything LinkedIn does. Your profile needs to scream credibility and value. It needs to show case the benefits you bring to clients that work with you or buy from you. It needs to be powerful because what is he first thing someone is going to do when they hear from you? Answer: check out your LinkedIn profile.
Once you have that powerful personal profile you need to get it out there. You need to post status updates and publish articles to spread the word about just how good you and your company are.
Being in the right places
LinkedIn has thousands of special interest groups. You need to join the groups where your target audience and out. If you are an accountant don’t look for clients in a group for accountants. They will be great for professional networking with your peers. But you need to join groups where potential clients interact. So, for example, if you specialise in accounting for performing artists, join some of their groups.
How do you work out which groups to join? Connect to some of your existing clients and then look at what groups they belong to. You could even ask them for an introduction into the group.
You existing best clients are almost certainly on LinkedIn. You need to connect with them. They will no doubt be very pleased with your products or services so ask them for a recommendation. When asked in the right way, very few people decline. Also, they are probably connected to other people in their industry or line of business. Those connections are your 2nd tier connections and could be you next ‘best’ clients.
By joining the right groups you will find lots of potential clients. But you can also use LinkedIn’s powerful advanced search engine to find prospects too. Even if your prospects are not as smart as you in the way they use LinkedIn, because they will have their job titles and then details of what they do in their profiles, LinkedIn provides a keyword rich environment to search. In addition you can narrow it down by geography, company, industry, non-profit interests and even the schools and universities they attended.
Having that powerful profile and find the right people to connect with is all well and good. But if you don’t get the engagement right you could blow it all in a few sentences. This is where most business that try and use LinkedIn go wrong – they try and sell. LinkedIn is all about networking. You don’t sell to people you meet at a networking event, so why try on LinkedIn. There’s a time for making offers once the relationship is established, but in the beginning it’s about commenting on posts, offering advice, providing value, being supportive and asking questions. Get the engagement right and your connections will ask you to help them. That’s how LinkedIn makes the selling easy.
Why not down load my free guides to creating a powerful personal profile and connecting with anyone in the world. Click on the images or links below.