LinkedIn is a powerful tool to use in the B2B (business to business) world. It can be used for networking, sales, research, and getting answers to your business questions. LinkedIn isn’t Facebook so you can’t use the same tactics to get noticed, you have to think a little different. Here are 5 ways to get noticed on the worlds #1 B2B platform.
Put a head shot in your profile. This should be a no brainer but I see a ton of profiles without a head shot or even worse with an unprofessional head shot. A profile with a professional head shot gets 21 times more profiles views and also makes it 36 times more likely you will receive a message. Make sure it’s just you, not you and your team or you and your significant other. Business attire is preferred but depending on your industry you could get away with a work uniform. This is your first impression so make it a good one.
Add your skills. Get noticed by adding your skill set to LinkedIn. If you add your skill set your profile views increase 13 times. That’s a big jump for such an easy thing to do. If you list 5 or more skill that jumps to 17 times more views. This is the place to let people know what you do, it’s what LinkedIn is about. It’s even better when you can get colleagues to endorse your skills. The best way to make that happen is to ask.
Talk about what you know Get noticed by posting content, unique content is best. The LinkedIn algorithm loves unique content and content written specifically for its users. Influencers average 130,000 post views when they write on LinkedIn and you don’t have to be an influencer to get going and take advantage of this. You should write about things you know so people understand you can help them when the time comes. Get your posts out with proper tags and people will start to follow you for more information.
Join groups Do a little research and find the groups relevant to your interests or that contain the people you want to talk to. Ask questions, provide answers and be useful in the groups you join don’t just look for the sale. Hard selling tactics backfire on LinkedIn, you should be trying to show expertise without pushing for customers..
Personalize your connection requests Tell people why you want to connect with them or where you met in person so they know who you are and why they should click yes. A personalized invite makes you stand out. Most people will connect with you on LinkedIn and even more will connect if they know why you sent the request.
Pro tip: Don’t connect with someone then start selling, it is a good way to loose a valuable contact. Even if they don’t disconnect with you they will remember that first interaction and decrease the chances they will help you or buy from you in the future.
Of course, if you are going to be on LinkedIn you might as well use it to increase your business. We have already talked about how to get noticed but now we will show what to do with that attention. It really depends on your business and what the original purpose of getting on LinkedIn was. Some of these things may not be needed for your business but everyone can benefit from networking so put your 5 minutes of LinkedIn time to good work.
Great, you are all set up as a business and ready to go now all you need is customers. This gets down to the meat and potatoes of Direct Sales, how to generate leads. They don’t just fall into your lap no matter what the hype says, you have to go out and earn them Luckily there are 110 Million adults in the US so there is a large pool to draw from and if you have chosen a good company at least some of them need your product. Here are some of the ways you can generate leads for your business.
Networking – Go back in this blog and look up the infographic on Networking locations. I have seen many people have great success in the Networking environment since you can talk one on one with potential clients. Look for business partnerships where your product will benefit their business and the potential increases.
Social Media – It seems ever DS rep out there uses social media but most of them use it poorly. Don’t spam, don’t be annoying, have a clear message that is different than every other rep. Focus on your product and not recruiting.
Trade Shows – I have seen an increase in DS at trade shows so you need to be careful which ones you go to. Again, have a clear and unique message and seek partnerships to gain the advantage over the reps just looking to recruit.
Referrals – This is a rich source that can be some of your easiest closes but it is difficult to tap if you don’t do it properly. First, you have to have outstanding customer service, not good, not great, but approaching world class. Then you have to ask for it once you know they are not just happy customers but rabid fans. These are your advocates and will introduce you to a rich line of leads.
Online – Don’t forget your email marketing campaigns and website. Good SEO and a good email list that you have collected (don’t buy it) can produce a small steady stream of leads if you keep it maintained.
Here is a quick infographic talking about all these points.
It is a fact that most business professionals prefer a face to face meeting. Hubsot found that nearly 100% of people say face-to-face meetings are essential for long-term business relationships. But how many people can you realistically meet face to face in a week? Even speed networking events you may meet a couple dozen at the most. That’s where technology tries to fill the gap, the ability to meet more people and filter through networks more efficiently. It is the age of information and there are websites and apps just waiting for us to utilize in our networking. Here is a list of networking apps to help you along. Seventy-two percent of people say their impressions are impacted by how someone appears and their handshake so face to face networking isn’t going away soon, but these apps will help give you access to a wider networking base.
Great, you are all fired up to do some networking but you don’t know where to begin. Fortunately, Networking can be done anywhere. Standing in line at the store (don’t be annoying about it), waiting for your car at the lube shop (they are bored as well, start a conversation) and anywhere else there is a gathering of people. In these situations, the way to network without becoming annoying is to focus on the other person and not on your own needs. Most people will talk about their work and the company they own or work for. Don’t push sales in these situations and be very reluctant to push solutions. This is about meeting people and adding to your network. Here is a list of 10 more places to network to get you started. Remember, this is the tip of the iceberg. Anywhere people gather, even in small numbers, is a networking opportunity.
You only have one chance to make a first impression and that impression is formed in the first seven seconds. That’s why when you’re networking you shouldn’t leave your introduction to chance, it should be a tightly scripted and carefully cultivated statement about you and your business. Included is a handy guide to building your introduction that helps bring those impressions around in your favor and start generating more leads and more business. Here are a few more tips to make these introductions shine.
Use power questions when you can. A power question hits on a pain point you are trying to solve with your business “Do you struggle with your social media marketing?”
Finish with a call to action. This lets the potential customer know what they need to do next to get the solutions you are offering. “Here is the link to download our handy guide to Social Media greatness.”
Practice until you remember, then practice until you can’t forget. Sometimes you get distracted or nervous when networking. Practicing until you can’t forget is the key to overcoming this. Practice out loud and exactly the tone and tempo you intend to use.
Everyone knows that one person who is super valuable to them in the business world, their most valuable resource (MVR). They seem to know everyone and can get you connected with anything if you ask. Here’s the secret, they aren’t naturally connected to everyone, they worked at it. But how do you build a network from nothing? By giving and not keeping score. If you make a commitment to giving out one good lead every day your network will grow and become a powerful force in your life. It will move with you from one job or business venture to the next and from one phase of life to the next. Give out good leads and you will get good leads. People like to reciprocate when they get something valuable from you. Maybe not everyone will send you leads but with time enough people will send business your way you may have to slow down your marketing or expand your business, and that’s a problem we all would like to deal with.
Here is a handy infographic discussing what is a good lead to pass off to your networking contacts.
For those who interact with me personally, it will come as no surprise that 90% of my business comes from networking. I attend as many networking events as I can, I meet as many people as possible and I collect a lot of information about who they are and what they do which I then pass along to other networking contacts. This week we will be talking about networking again because I believe it is one of the most useful skills you can have as a business owner and one of the easiest things you can do to get more business. Every day we will talk about one aspect of networking as well as practical tips to becoming a master networker. Remeber the saying “It isn’t who you are, it’s who you know”. Make networking a habit. Your bonus tip for today is to devote 5 minutes every day to building your network and see how it grows.
Getting the introduction right during the first few seconds is important. This is when you are establishing yourself and setting the expectation for the rest of the conversation. Here are some tips on nailing the into during the first 30 seconds.
Networking used to be all about the face to face meeting but oh how times have changed. While the in person networking is still the optimal way to go, technology has opened up new ways to network. Here is a list of my top 5 networking apps (find me on all of them if you like).