This is the third post in a three part series on using LinkedIn to prospect and grow your business. In the first part, you learned how LinkedIn can be used for businesses to grow their sales. In the second, you learned how to set up your profile and start your search for potential connections.
Introducing yourself to potential customers can be tricky. At times, it can be downright nerve wracking. LinkedIn makes it all much easier. Firstly, in the last post you learned that you should always try to filter your new contacts with second connections.
You want to do this so you can analyze the results of your search and see if there is any way someone else can provide a recommendation. You know what they say in the world of business: “If you say it, it’s bragging. If someone else says it, it’s a referral.”
You want to take every advantage to have your existing friends and associates on the LinkedIn network recommend you to others. This will not only help you grow your network quickly, but it will also help you find quality leads that are easier to convert into sales.
How many connections should you have? It varies from industry to industry, but several studies have shown that most people have ten connections for every year they’ve been alive. You may chuckle, but if you think about it, that’s about right.
You meet about 10 new valuable connections every year. These are the people that can really help you grow your business and professional network. If you’re adding them to your LinkedIn network as you meet them, you’ll have a few hundred by the time you’re in your mid twenties. How many do you have?
You don’t just want to start throwing messages around asking for new business. Instead, you need to create an introduction that shows how you will provide value to others involved with your industry.
If you’re not able to reach out with someone’s referral or introduction, you need to formulate a message that will clearly indicate how knowing you will help the other person. The emphasis here, is on how you will be able to help them – not the other way around.
Let’s say that you sell SEO services and you’re hoping to expand your network of referral generators. You can easily reach out to web designers and developers and let them know that you’d be happy to exchange tips on building SEO friendly designs.
Your expertise will help them, and they’ll see that theirs will help you. They’ll also be able to refer new business to you in the future, and may even hire you for their own personal projects.
When you approach LinkedIn with this mindset you’ll find it much easier to succeed. It’s all about making connections and constantly looking for new business. LinkedIn is just one of many tools that you could use, but if you’re in an industry with high ticket items, it’s the most effective of them all.
Kevin Gao is the founder and CEO of Comm100, a leading provider of live chat software for business. As a software developer as well as a small business expert, he’s always ambitious to revolutionize the way of online customer service and communication. Follow Kevin on Twitter to find out more about him.