How to prospect for new business on LinkedIn?

How should my photo look on LinkedIn?

Professional. Facing forward. Making eye contact looking directly into the camera. Everything you would expect in real life. This is crucial. A photo is everything, it enables your desired contact or audience to be able to connect with you just based on your photo. A lot of businesses and individuals (sole traders, solopreneurs etc..) still fail to do this. In some ways it defeats the object to have a company logo in some ways. This is especially true when we are talking about online business. A photo is about connecting with your audience and it being the personal touch!

How good is your LinkedIn profile description?

Its not about your job title! Tell people what you actually do. What can you offer them? Essentially what is your USP? Describe in a good amount of detail – your company, location and skill set. Use the header title so that everytime you comment or post – your job title/skill set comes up for all to see. This section of your profile is often the most valuable. Equally adding as much content as possible to all the other sections is equally as important.

LinkedIn Connections

Should I share examples of my work on LinkedIn?

Writing articles or maybe setting up a Slide Share account to show some of your presentations is a good idea. This kind of content can very easily be embedded into your profile settings.

How can I increase my connections on LinkedIn?

Use your email list, be this business or personal. If people recognise you of the Head of the organisation where they have purchased an item, this allows you to seek excellent feedback as well as to re-connect for future sales.

Are LinkedIn Groups worth joining?

Of course they are. This is where ‘your’ people are going to hang out! Connect and prospect in these groups.

Is asking for a referral/invitation to connect worth it?

I think as long as it is a one off request and not weekly it is fine. It is often the quickest route to success, especially if it is a vital connection which may prove to be instrumental to both businesses.

Reputation building is key!

Post regular content, share regular content but always make sure it is valuable, genuine and original advice. Even if it isn’t your post, you will become associated with great content. This will build your reputation online and have a long lasting effect on your current and future business.

You could try the ‘shot gun approach’ – this does occasionally get a result. But it is not ideal. It is good though when you want a specific contact such as the Marketing Director for a business as you find that contact. It makes sending an email or popping into Reception that much easier to establish a relationship. The more information who have or can find out makes it much easier to get in touch with people. Crucially, you need to get past the gatekeeper!

Who is the gatekeeper and why do I need to get past them?

The gatekeeper is the person who is stopping you gain entry into a business or organisation. In a business historically this was always a security guard or receptionist. Online it could be anyone. Lots of businesses particularly those in Government will only allow approved email addresses through their Fire Wall. I know this I have tried!! So the more information you have to get past the gatekeeper the greater the chances of success.

What is the procurement process? Is there a buying department? How does your desired business operate?

There are many questions to be answered, not just the three main points above. You need to know who your customer is, what is their buying procedure, when do they look for new contracts and suppliers. This kind of information is key for a sales and procurement role procedure.

Are they active on LinkedIn? If not there is probably little point in trying to contact them there. The information is probably not reliable or current. If they are, great, enquire further.

Are they on another platform? Learn about them…

Do some homework on them, see if you have mutual connections, but better off see if they are on another platform. Do they have a Facebook or Instagram page, can you find any further information about them there. A little bit of Facebook stalking but it might give you an edge.

The only real problem is that ‘mutual connections’ are not real connections anymore. They once were but now people are just connecting with anyone, where like with most things if you have a few meaningful connections that will be of greater success than 500+ LinkedIn connections who you don’t know. Be savvy.

What can I do to give me the edge when connecting with new people?

Remember to be human, be sociable and to use the platform to progress and connect with others. This is what it was designed for. Send a message to ask how you can help people you have connected with.

Figure out how you can connect in real life. What networking opportunities can you meet up at? Conferences, Events, meet ups of any kind. Face to face communication is always stronger than anything virtual.

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