Archives For linkedIn

linkedin_clothWe’re all on LinkedIn.  So Why Not Use LinkedIn To Prospect for New Business!

New Logos are hard to get. Cold calling is not really working, and it’s no wonder. The people we are calling are getting thousands of calls, and unlike email, calls take an incredible amount of time to make and return.  However, email is hard too. Getting noticed in email is a one-in-a-million chance. It’s easy to delete an email.  But LinkedIn seems to work.  The open-rate is actually higher than normal email. I know they say that in the ads, but based on my experience, it’s true.

Have you tried LinkedIn for active prospecting?  I thought I would provide a few tips here on how to make use of this great tool. It’s funny how many of us are on this cloud application. It’s the one hole in the great wall every business leader has surrounded themselves with.  And it does work. In fact, I just got off the phone with a VAR Business Owner. He can’t get his sales guy to make use of LinkedIn, however in the past week he’s landed 3 sizable deals himself, simply by spending an hour each day reaching out to people.  Meanwhile his sales guy is pounding the phones with little to show for it. Blog Subscribe Ad

Here’s One Way to Use LinkedIn to Find New Business

1. First, you will need an upgraded account. I use the Business Account for $23.99/month.  This gives me more access to see people’s profiles before connecting, and unlimited use of the advanced search capabilities.

2. Next, you need a way of getting around the InMail limitation. You only get 5 InMails (Emailing within LinkedIn) in the business level account. But the next level up only gives you 8, and the top level is 15. If you’re in sales, none of these options will work.  So here’s what you do…

  • Use the advanced search function to find the people you are looking for. Consider searching titles, companies, or types of businesses.  I find that setting a block of time, such as an hour, and then focusing my search on something that will give me a few hundred hits works well. I’ll then spend that hour contacting people from that one search.  This saves time.
  • You can try connecting.  One person I spoke with will contact someone they know, who is connected to the prospect they’re after, and get permission to name them. They are not asking for an intro – that takes too long. Instead, just to name them. This increases the likelihood of connecting.  A Connect request does not use an InMail.  The only problem here is that waiting for your contact to respond might be too cumbersome.
  • Another option is to use the groups. If that prospect is in a group that you belong to (if not, just join a group they are in), you can click on the number of members in that group, which will display all group members. Search for their name and click MESSAGE.  This message will not count against your InMails either.

3. Offer them something.  I like to offer content – a free copy of one of my books or a special report on some topic that seems relevant.  Cloud security has been a good one.  Adam Witty, in his book Book The Business, does a great job explaining how to connect with people using books and reports. It’s much easier to connect with content than to connect trying to sell something.  (Note: I will be interviewing Adam Witty in June on my Insider’s Circle Program!)

4. Follow up.  Try offering your content 3 times, one time per week. I get about a 50% acceptance on this. Usually it’s the 2nd email that does it.  For some reason people respond to a message that refers back to the first message more often than replying to the initial try.

5. Don’t give up.  It’s important to know your product or offering is valuable. Like any prospecting effort, there will be those who respond negatively.  In fact I had one today.  The thing that amuses me here is that I am reaching out to sale people and sales managers. So today I sent my third and final email offering my book – it was sent to a vendor you would recognize in the security space; he’s the regional sales manager.  His reply simply said, “Leave me alone.”  I was tempted to email back asking him how he would counsel his sales team with this type of response.  But I resisted the urge.  There’s no reason to get into it with people…just move on, continue spreading your value until someone responds with a need.  Remember, it’s their loss not yours…

© David Stelzl, 2015

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Staying in Touch w/ LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a great tool as far as I am concerned.  It allows me to connect with old friends, people I’ve lost track of over the years, and to establish new contacts without having to remember to get cards from everyone.  When people leave a job, I know about it, and when I meet someone in a meeting, I can learn more about them online.  If you’re in sales, you need a LinkedIn account – but I think most people know that.  What you might not be thinking about is, what is your LinkedIn profile for  -who is your audience and who did you write for?  In other words, do you have the right message on your current profile?

New Job vs. New Client

The answer should vary.  There will be times when you need a new job.  If that’s the case, you probably want to rework your summary and job descriptions to match what an employer would be looking for.  However, that same information might not be the best value proposition for meeting new clients.  For instance, you do want your prospective employer to be reading about your sales achievements – but when talking to prospects, it’s better to highlight your ability to advise people on specific technology decisions and to communicate your value as an adviser to a client.

Is Your Profile a Resume?

Most of the LinkedIn profiles I review read like a resume – they tell a story of sales achievements.  I read things like, “Made presidents club, or achieved 2X of my quota.”  Something tells me that your prospective customer doesn’t care about that.  If you have a good job, change your LinkedIn profile – tell people what you are doing to meet needs.  Share areas of expertise, interest, and helpfulness.  State your customer facing mission, sound helpful, and communicate your core areas of expertise.  This is what your upcoming meeting participants want to know.

Also, remember that LinkedIn is searchable.  Using key words such as vendor product names and technology trends like “Big Data” can help others find you in an overcrowded marketplace.

How to Speak – Be Social

Speak in first person – since this is not a formal resume, don’t make it into one.  LinkedIn is social media, so be social.   Share what you are passionate about.  If you’re on your way to a meeting – chances are  people will be looking you up before you arrive.  What would you like them to know about you?  It’s always helpful to have some content out there that generates discussion.  Consider filling in your favorite books, activities, and other personal items that allow people to connect with you.  Of course you want to avoid giving out personal information, but if you’re in sales, you need enough to advertise yourself.

But don’t blow your own horn.  If you sound like a know-it-all, you’ll turn people off.  If you have done some great things, it will be evident in the stories you share – but constantly tooting your horn can be annoying.  If you have publications or credentials, you want to list them, but you don’t need to say, “I am the best”.  Everyone knows you wrote your own descriptions, so there is not use is write accolades in the third person.  When I read, “Bob is customer driven, responsive, and ….”.  I know Bob wrote it…so now I am thinking, wow, Bob really likes himself.  But, Bob also sounds like every other sales person.

I’d rather read something like, “I believe my client’s deserve my attention…I believe there are better ways to make this or that happen, etc.”  What do you believe, and how do you live it.  These core values may be some of the best value you can write about.  Write it, live it, prove it, and get your references to endorse it.

© 2013, David Stelzl

Changi airport is amazing with it’s gardens, shopping, and best of all security…you march right through customs without the hassle of scanners, undressing, laptops on belts, etc.

Preparing for India, I spent my last morning here catching up with class attendees and following up on LinkedIn connections.  This is an important part of sales – one I’ve often overlooked out of sheer busyness.  When you’ve completed a meeting or presentation, be diligent to enter new contacts into your CRM, but take the extra step of connecting through LinkedIn…if you completed a project, as I have this week, it’s also important to request recommendations through LinkedIn while your delivery is on the minds of the customers you’ve worked with.  LinkedIn has tremendous power as over 40 million business people are on it, and every one of your connections is receiving your updates.  Keep your name in front of those you work with, and be sure to keep tabs on where people go.  As people move around in this industry, they’ll create more opportunities for you if you maintain a solid reputation.  Don’t allow yourself to skip this step – your future depends on it.

This evening I am sitting in the Changi airport preparing to catch my flight to Bangalore.  For some reason India flights all arrive late in the evening…the good news is, I have arranged a ride through the hotel to avoid the taxi mess I’ve read and heard about.  One person recommended I bring my own water, but that just didn’t seem possible.  Stay tuned for pictures of India over the weekend!

© 2010, David Stelzl

A long time friend and colleague of mine is interviewing – so what does he do?  First he finds out who he will be interviewing with, then he heads to Linkedin to prepare.  Using the search features, he locates the people he’ll be interviewing with.  Since he upgraded, he can now see full profiles of people he is not linked to, allowing him to learn about their backgrounds, expertise, favorite books, and perhaps hobbies and interests.  Then going on to advanced searches, with his upgrade in hand, he can search for other titles within the company, learning more about the organization, who he might want to know more about during the interview process, and perhaps some of the people he knows, who are linked to people he’ll be meeting with.  From there, a few emails or phone calls may give him the insider advantage.  How about sales?

Are you leveraging this tool before going out on sales calls? It’s no different than my colleagues interview – he’s on a sales call just like you.  As I connect with different people I am finding many sales people are not keeping up their profiles, adding contacts, and doing everything they can to research upcoming meetings, while also creating an attractive profile for themselves online.  Two things you must do: Prepare for sales calls using the advanced features of LinkedIn, doing everything you can to learn about the people you will be meeting with.  Secondly, make sure you are up to date and attractive – assume those you are meeting with are checking you out online.  If you don’t have a great picture, get one.  Meeting someone with a face in mind makes a difference too.

© David Stelzl, 2010

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Yesterday on my flight to Boston I was talking to a gentleman about marketing through social networks.  We were discussing how the Internet has completely changed the way we reach customers and prospects, as well as what prospects and clients are attracted to.  Some considerations for your online brand…

1. Is your Cyber-Slip showing?  This comes from the Title of a recent article published in the National Speakers Association monthly publication.  The writer rightly points out that users of Facebook and other social networking sites tend to disregard security settings, thus “over-sharing” personal preferences, and perhaps adding to the damage by linking with others who speak too freely.  We’re talking here about life-style, political views, hobbies, etc.  Much of this can be harmless, however, you never know what people who you “sort of” know, and are linked to, are going to post.  Be careful – social sites are one of the first places prospects are going to learn about you as you work through the sale process.

2. Freedom of speech…yes, we supposedly have some level of freedom of speech, however your comments on blogs and Facebook walls are searchable by everyone.  Once you post it or send it, it’s forever posted.  You can’t recall it!  If you change your mind, or you mature over the years and realize you were being over zealous, your comments are not going to be updated.  The Internet is here to stay, so post only things  you want posted forever.  Never post or email when angry about something.

3. Sterile sites – check out your website.  This is your online image.  Is it you, or is it boring?  I’ve recently transitioned my primary site to my blog.  Why?  My website is informational, but static.  Many companies are putting their blog on their website – this is okay, but I think a mistake.  The first thing your prospects want to know is who you are.  Remember the overused phrase, “Trusted Advisor”?  It’s overused, yet it still means something.  The idea of building trust is still essential, and the person building trust is you.  People get to know you through your online presence.  Make it trustworthy, and give people a personality to trust.  Your character must somehow shine through your web presence, and the blog is the best place to do it. Take them to your blog, then as people get to know you, take them to your website to learn about products and services.

4. Outdated data…So you’re on LinkedIn…this is a great start, but have you provided the details.  There is nothing worse than searching for John Smith and having a thousand LinkedIn profiles show up without pictures.  If you are going to join, keep it updated.  LinkedIn is a great way to stay in touch with people as they transition from one job to the next.  While email addresses are changing, people connected through LinkedIn can stay in contact.

5. Pictures…pictures are worth a thousand words, right?  Check out your photos online…Most people who take the time to put a picture on Linkedin use a head shot.  Not bad – but make sure it’s current.  Your 70’s hair-doo might need to be updated.  Why do so many people use a weird picture on Facebook?  Casual is great for social networking, but if you’re in business, don’t put something sensual (if you’re a woman) or just plain freaky online…this is your trusted brand.

Are you doing any of these things?  It’s time to clean up and create the right image.  Start by Googling yourself – do this often and see what’s out there.  Then take inventory of what you have online and start fixing it.  If you don’t have anything online – you are missing a great opportunity to build a brand that will help you over the coming years.