Machen MacDonald: LINKEDIN to break out
If you are in business and want to stay ahead of the pack, you must become proficient in social media. This week let’s focus on Linkedin and how to put an “old-school” twist on this digital resource to bring on board some new clients.
If you are in sales or business development you know the power of a referral when it comes to getting new clients. There is no cost to acquiring a referral and they are the warmest type of prospect compared to the other end of the spectrum; paying for a bunch of cold leads and everything in between.
It’s wonderful when satisfied clients provide us a referral. However, that may not happen often enough. Many professionals are not comfortable asking for a referral for as many reasons as there are sales people. The answer is — systems.
Having a repeatable process that generates a predictable flow of prospective clients is worth its weight in gold.
Let’s review a proven process and we’ll use LINKEDIN as the acronym to remember it. This process assumes you have a LinkedIn account and are somewhat familiar with the digital platform. There are plenty of online tutorials to show you how to set up an account and get the basics down.
L — Let people know who you are and how you can help them specifically. The mistake most people make with setting up their LinkedIn profile is they make it too stiff and sterile and don’t including any personality. With that being said, no selfies or cropped pictures with a mysterious hand on your shoulder. You must use a current professional headshot, period.
Second, write your profile so it speaks to your ideal client and enables them to clearly know how they can benefit from you and your services. What makes you uniquely qualified to be their No. 1 choice as provider of the services you specialize in.
I — Identify who your ideal client is and what makes them tick. It’s easier to communicate more effectively online if you have, in mind, an avatar representing your ideal client along with clarity of their pains, desires, wants and needs.
N — Network nicely. The purpose of social media is so we can network more efficiently. Let’s face it, nothing ever beats a face to face interaction. In most cases, when done correctly, social media is intended to ultimately lead to an offline encounter either on the phone or in person.
The purpose is to move a qualified suspect through our marketing funnel to a solid prospect and ultimately to become a client. The cycle we need to move them through is they have to know of us, like us, then trust us enough to do business with us. Online, the way that can be done is to post daily “updates” with relevant and useful information.
Like and comment on the posts of your clients and prospects as well as the posts of popular thought leaders and influencers. It is also important to celebrate the accomplishments of others by commenting on their accomplishments, anniversaries and promotions. Do yourself a favor and don’t use LinkedIn to sell. It’s about making connections and it’s a visibility game.
The goal is to be seen regularly throughout the week so that when you eventually do reach out directly they are already familiar with you.
K — Kindly ask for favorable introductions. Not many professionals are comfortable asking for a referral. However, how do you feel about asking a satisfied client if they are willing to serve as a character reference for you and your services? Different feel, right?
One of the gems of LinkedIn is we can see to whom we may want to be introduced that our client knows. Identify three or four ideal prospective clients your current clients know. Inform your client you are planning on reaching out to those people and ask if they would be willing to be a reference with regards to you, the type of work you do and how you help people.
If you do this correctly you will get their blessing every time. Assure your client you will keep the details of their business dealings with you confidential.
E — Engage in groups — There are thousands of targeted groups on LinkedIn. Find the ones your clients and prospects are members of and join those groups within LinkedIn. Get involved in the conversation and increase your visibility and likeability.
D — Direct your influencers. Piggy back on the asking for referrals mentioned above. Once your client said they would be happy to be a character reference for you, simply ask if they would be wiling to provide you a favorable introduction to the three or four people of whom you just made them aware?
Make it easy for them to say, “yes” by suggesting they send a simple two or three sentence email introducing you as their friend and advisor/service provider and that you are a good person with very creative ideas and to take your call. Put it in your own words and keep it simple and brief.
Be sure to follow up with a call within 24 hours of the email being sent.
I — Include articles on Pulse with links to your website or blog. Pulse is LinkedIn’s daily news feed of which you can contribute content. Ideas for content can be DIY ideas, best practices, hacks, Top-10 lists and info graphics that provide help and solutions highlighting your expertise
N — Nominate yourself by “recommending” others. Another place to gain visibility inside of LinkedIn is by recommending and endorsing other people you respect and that have high visibility. Click on the services you endorse them for and write recommendations of your experience of how they helped you.
By following the LINKEDIN process above, your prospective clients will see you and your name on a regular basis on their LinkedIn board. You will achieve top of mind awareness. Remember clients must move through the Know-Like-Trust funnel. This process gets them knowing of you. If the content and information you post is relevant, unique and helpful they will come to like you. By getting favorably introduced by mutual friends and clients they will come to trust you.
Be patient with the process. Spend 20 marketing minutes each day working this process for the next 30 days and you will have LINKEDIN to break out ahead of the pack.
Make it up, make it fun, and get it done!
No. 1 bestselling author Machen P. MacDonad, CPCC, CCSC is a certified life and business coach with ProBrilliance Leadership Institute in Grass Valley, CA. He helps business people gain more confidence and clarity to live their ideal life. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and 530-273-8000
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The MEME stocks are on fire again. You remember these. My last article on the MEMEs was the called “The Game that is Gamestop.”