What I like about LinkedIn Today

April 28, 2010 at 1:04 pm (LinkedIn, marketing, Networking, social networking)

I have an acquaintance who is writing an article on LinkedIn for sales people for the New York Enterprise Report, which is a very nice business publication out of NYC that I subscribe to.   He kindly asked that I contribute some of my thoughts as quotes for his article, so I’m very much looking forward to my imminent fame! 

In my infinite wisdom, I scratched out the following thoughts, and gave him permission to cut, paste or delete! 

I provided LinkedIn tutoring last night (to a general contractor) and my client received an immediate response from his new connection: “Funny timing…we have a job we’d like you to quote.”  LinkedIn is not only a collection of your clients, prospects and referral sources–it’s a tool to build and maintain these relationships by staying top-of-mind.  (Do you need a general contractor?  I’d be happy to forward his profile.)

I’m often asked “to friend, or not to friend?”   I want to maximize the opportunities to leverage the people I know.  My LinkedIn network started with current and past colleagues, friends and family, and has expanded to vendors, networking associates, clients, prospects, referral sources, and more.  You never know who might be able to make an introduction for you.  And, it is also my goal to position myself as a reliable, go-to resource for things outside of my scope.  (If you need Organic Dog T’s, I know a guy, and would be happy to share his LinkedIn profile.)  LinkedIn houses my ‘stable of resources.’

The features are robust and LinkedIn is releasing product enhancements almost daily. 

The Event Application is a useful tool to find relevant networking opportunities.  I have one LI connection who is a current prospect, and the Event App informs me of the events that he is planning to attend (he uses the app too).  I need to continue to make an impression on this man and build rapport, so I have RSVP’d for an upcoming event so we’ll run into each other

I have connected my blog to my LI profile via the BlogLink application, and this has expanded the distribution of my articles.  The BlogLink automatically pulls my most recent posts, and shares with those in my network who also have this application enabled.  I see their blog posts as well on my LinkedIn homepage.  
 
LinkedIn Groups are invaluable to me because they give me the ability to email directly the people who are in my groups, even those who are outside of my immediate network.  This significantly expands my direct-contact abilities via this trusted medium.
 
I use the “introduction” feature pretty regularly in LinkedIn.  In situations where I am two degrees separated from a prospect, I’ll review the connection(s) we have in common, and then I’ll get introduced through this connection via the LinkedIn system.  My connection can decide whether to make this introduction (i.e. forwarding my message on to the desired recipient).
 
LinkedIn offers valuable functionality for sales account managers by providing up-to-date information, including the right person at the company you’re investigating, and then details on commonalities and mutual connections.  The Advanced People Search tool lets you target your search with very specific professional criteria (i.e. Partner, Accounting industry, Greater New York City), and will then let you know how you’re connected.
 
The sales process is not always short, and for most of us it’s important to build a rapport with our prospects.  Thus, it’s important to refrain from using LinkedIn in an entirely utilitarian manner.  I try to regularly deliver value to my connections.  This has included: sharing articles that I think are relevant, sharing event invitations, making introductions amongst members of my network, and ‘listening’ to my connections and reaching out when appropriate, like offering a congratulations when a connection’s title has changed.

Brain dump complete for now. Log Out!

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