LinkedIn remains the #1 social network for professionals looking to connect and generate B2B leads, however, there are many companies and sales and marketing professionals who continue to overlook LinkedIn's power in lead generation. As LinkedIn previously reported, “Information is power, and as access to information increases, so does the ability of buyers to control the selling process. Gone are the days when buyers picked up the phone and contacted a handful of companies for information, advice, pricing, and more after spotting a need. Gone are the days when sales reps could answer the phone, reach out to decision makers and help them discover needs they didn’t know existed before. " reputation management As a business owner selling professional services or a sales manager at a company selling professional services, you are most likely to use LinkedIn for reputation management, lead generation, building visibility and professional authority. This article will help you focus on how to "improve your skills and lead generation results".
How service professionals are using LinkedIn strategically to generate leads. We've used the term B2B (or business-to-business) in sales for as long as I can remember to define a market niche. Having said that, the business has changed in terms of our outlook. Buyers are now two-thirds of the way through the buying process before contacting a salesperson. This means they most often let their fingers move around the web. Today, we need to shift our thinking from B2B to P2P - person to person! Develop a Customer-Centric LinkedIn Profile Sorry to keep beating this industry mailing list profile topic, but I update their profiles every week with professionals who simply don't know how to attract their ideal clients. A well-written LinkedIn profile makes the difference in getting connected or being ignored! Write a customer-centric profile to talk to your ideal customers. Tips for creating this profile include: • From resume to resource • Create a title that includes typical keywords for the title and a few words that describe how you can help or interest you. • The summary should include the following details: Your ideal customer - their problem - your solution. • The Experience section should include: what you do, who you serve, your key skills or expertise, your results and key achievements. •
Be recognized as a thought leader and subject matter expert, positioning you as a preferred supplier through your achievements, posts and articles. Most importantly, you have about 6-8 seconds to make a good first impression, don't let this step depend on luck. Know how to find the ideal connection You should be able to easily define who your ideal clients and referral partners are. Connecting strategically rather than randomly ensures that you use your time and LinkedIn as tools for generating opportunities effectively. • Know who the decision makers are. • Map your buyers by title, keyword and geographic area. • Develop search strings using Boolean terms to easily find them on LinkedIn. • Determine who your influencers know - ask for introductions. I recommend that you provide them with a short pre-written description that they can use to simplify the introduction. • Make sure you connect with those who already know, like and trust you to maximize your reach. While connecting with the people you know and work with, I encourage you to be curious about developing a more open network of people outside your comfort zone rather than a closed network connected by the same people.
I've written a step-by-step guide on how to grow a strategic network, free download 7 ways to transform your LinkedIn network from a database into valuable business connections. (click title to download) Get the right advice These days, we're used to not making a purchase without reading a review first. We do this through books and products on Amazon, hotel rooms on Trivago, restaurant reviews on Yelp and Google. So it's no surprise that potential customers will read your LinkedIn testimonials. Your LinkedIn referral goal is to influence potential customers to engage with you—right? Before you make your next suggestion, frame your request by asking the following questions: – What does my ideal buyer care about? – What are their challenges? – What does success look like for them? – What results did I provide that would solve another ideal client’s challenge? I recommend that you get new referrals every year because you will stand out and be more relevant than your competitors. Think about it this way, would someone want to do business with someone whose last referral was 5 years ago, or someone who had a referral a few months ago? Build an engagement strategy