I was once involved in a project (pre-MoreVisibility) in the automotive industry where the goal was to help sales people generate more leads and ultimately sell more vehicles. The owners of the dealerships (there were eight of them) were committed to doing anything possible that could help the sales team be increasingly successful.
In sales meeting after sales meeting, he would ask both the managers and the individual salesmen if there were any other tools they needed to be more effective, and more times than not, the answer was always that they had all the tools. The dilemma however was the chasm between having the tools and actually refining and using them on a consistent basis.
Today, the preeminent tool for sales professionals to employ, particularly in Business-to-Business environments, is LinkedIn. Not only does it help you locate people who fit your target audience (industry, geography, job title, etc.), but it also enables you to connect to those folks and stay in front of them in a variety of ways. The thing about LinkedIn though (much like every sales tool before it), is that it only achieves its potential if it is worked consistently.
With that in mind, here are a few ideas for maximizing LinkedIn as a business development tool:
- Connect with people you meet through other channels, i.e. the person who visited your booth at a tradeshow the other day.
- Publish or repurpose content for your connections that you think they would appreciate reviewing. This should not be confused with simply “liking” other people’s published material.
- Use LinkedIn’s messaging platform to reach people who are not proving to be responsive to a telephone call or an email.
- Consider paying for a Premium version of LinkedIn so that you are able to research and connect with any prospects that you want.
- Weed out and “disconnect” from followers who are bogging your homepage down with info that’s a distraction or non-pertinent.
Surely, one day there will be other online networking options to focus on in addition to LinkedIn. In the meantime, utilize the channel’s capabilities to their fullest and you will benefit from your efforts.