Since its launch in 2003, LinkedIn has become known as an excellent place to search and find a new job, and stay in touch with like-minded individuals, former colleagues and friends.
However, LinkedIn is so much more than that.
For businesses, it is a powerful marketing tool that can help generate more targeted leads.
Used in the right way, LinkedIn can dramatically increase sales for any business.
Here are the top five tips for helping your business use LinkedIn to generate more leads and increase sales.
Tip #1 – Prepare Your Profile for Action
Trying to find a new lead before being fully prepared can ultimately hurt your efforts.
To get the most out of LinkedIn, you have to start by optimising and branding your company profile.
The most important thing that you have to consider is your profile picture.
Your LinkedIn profile picture needs to convey your professionalism and what you do.
Next, you need to make sure your company profile, including your biography and contact information, is complete.
For more information about getting the most our of LinkedIn, check out our helpful guide; “How to Create a Killer LinkedIn Profile“.
Tip #2 – Look for Potential Leads
This is where LinkedIn can really help your business generate leads.
Use the convenient search boxes at the top of any page to scour the over 575+ million users for relevant contacts.
Premium membership include access to advanced search options.
Using these options you can search based on job title, company, seniority level, and more.
A well defined LinkedIn search can create a very specific and targeted list of prospects for you.
Tip #3 – Personalise Your Connection Requests
You have scanned through the search results to find the most promising prospects on your list.
Next, you need to start sending out personalised connection requests.
Start by reaching out to contacts you have in common with your target.
Ask your mutual contact to introduce you.
When writing your message, be sure to include how you know the person.
Mention the things you have in common, and what you find interesting about the person.
I receive dozens of LinkedIn connection requests every week.
Only one out of every 100 makes an effort to personalise their message, and give a good reason why we should connect.
Want to guess how many of each 100 make it to the next stage of my qualification?
If you want to establish a long and successful relationship with your prospect, start the same way as you would if you met them at an event.
You wouldn’t just walk up to a person at a party and say “let’s be friends”.
That’s a great way to weird someone out and have them think that “friends” is the very last thing you will be.
Instead you would try to find something of interest to them, and start a discussion you hope they will enjoy.
The point is, you want to avoid using the boring and generic invitations that LinkedIn provides.
Tip #4 – Following Up Your LinkedIn Leads
It’s a well understood principle that 80% of sales need 5 follow–up calls after the initial meeting.
A request for a LinkedIn connection is a type of sale.
You are selling the value of making a connection with you.
After your connection invitation has been accepted, one of two things will happen.
Either the new connection will reach out to you and express an interest in learning more about you and your company.
Or they will wait for you to reach out.
You need to decide on how to move forward on each accepted request.
Will you reach out right away, or will you wait for a few days or weeks before following up?
This isn’t like dating.
There are no “rules of cool” to follow.
This is sales.
These are leads.
A Harvard Business Review study found that salespeople who take action with a lead within an hour of first connection are almost seven times likelier to have meaningful conversations leading to a sale.
Now, you cannot always be waiting online, ready to pounce on your new connections, (even with the LinkedIn Mobile app).
The important thing is that you do follow up with every connection that you develop.
Then keep the conversation going.
Find a reason to contact all your leads at least once a month.
As a solopreneur, you can never have too many ways of generating new leads.
Include LinkedIn in your strategy, to grow you client list and build healthy business relationships for years to come.