I’m a big fan of Linkedin, I use it several times a week and when I announce what I’m working on (which I will do within a few days) it will become even more clear why it’s been so useful to me. I have three favorite uses for Linkedin:
- Finding relevant people to connect with, such as everyone that runs collaboration at their organizations, or perhaps IT managers
- Finding people to meet with when I travel to a particular area.
- Finding information on prospects before meet with them or contact them
Finding relevant people
This is a screenshot taken from my Linkedin account after doing a simple search for “VP of marketing.” You can see that on the left hand side I can filter these results by company, relationship, and location. If I’m looking to get in touch with folks that run marketing at various organizations this is a very valuable tool. Not only can I see who the various VPs are, I can also see how I’m connected to them and request introductions. Now of course this doesn’t mean that you can just get a list and start blasting them with junk but why not reach out to someone and invite them for tea or dinner? Keep in mind this is free and surely you can see the valuable implications of being able to see and connect with your relevant contacts.
Connecting with people when traveling
I travel frequently these days and one of the things I like to do is to see who I’m connected with when I travel to a particular location.
Let’s say I’m going to visit Seattle (which I am in a few days) and I want to see who I’m connected to there that I might be able to meet with. I just click on the “people” tab, scroll down to “location” and pick which area I’m going to be traveling to. This is of course extremely useful for sales people who own various regions/properties for their organizations (or just for anyone that travels). Now I can send any of these connections a note saying something like:
“Hi Chris, we’re connected on Linkedin but we have never actually met in person, I’m actually going to be in your neck of the woods for a few days starting on Monday and thought it would be great for us to meet in person, perhaps over tea or lunch?”
There is no reason for you not to be able to connect with someone new on every trip you take.
Finding information on prospects or leads
I’m amazed at how underused this simple tactic is. Let’s say you get an email from a new lead or better yet, let’s say you are about to call or email a new lead or prospect. You don’t need to do this cold anymore. Linkedin gives you enough information on anyone to turn any cold lead into a warm lead. Let’s say you are trying to build a business relationship with Connie Chan from Chess Media Group, just go to Google and type “Connie Chan Linkedin” to get a list of the various Connie Chan’s on Linkedin, from here you can either scroll through a few of the Connies until you find the one you are looking for or simply add the word “Chess” to the end of your Google query so that it looks like this: “Connie Chan linkedin Chess,” hers is the first one that pops up.
I took a screenshot of part of her profile but here you can see things such as where she works, where she has worked in the past, what kind of work she does, where she went to college, etc. This information is extremely valuable when starting to build a relationship with someone. This page gives you everything you need to turn a cold lead into a warm lead, this information is free, accessible to anyone, and is easy to find. Not every single person in the world is on Linkedin but many business professionals are!
There are a few other ways that you can use Linkedin for social sales but these are my favorite three uses/examples that I think anyone and everyone can use. How do you use Linkedin?
(Cross-posted @ Social Business Advisor: Social CRM and Enterprise 2.0)