Generating sales leads with LinkedIn - The fine balance between making a gain and being a pain.
Prospect Profile Development
The ability to create a prospect profile is essential when it comes to the art of generating appointments for you and your business. Having a true understanding of the details surrounding your prospects is the first step to achieving success with this process, and the two key areas to profiling are: Demographics and Psychographics.
The combination of these two areas is what gives us a clear understanding of the prospect profile. Being able to profile your prospect in this manner will lay the foundation for you to craft a campaign that focuses not on you and your business but your prospect and their business.
Some profiles may only be made up of only demographics, some may only be psychographics and some may be a combination of both.
Knowing where to find your prospects?
Finding the best online communities that house your prospects is critical to a correctly focused strategy. Using online communities as a way of reaching your prospects is a very effective tool, but first you must ensure you are using the best social media platform to suit you and your business.
From there you need to focus on joining 30-50 communities. The benefits from this include:
1.Creating a direct link between you and your prospects
2.Gaining insight into the topics and interests that they care about most
3.The ability to interact with your prospects in a meaningful and conversational way
4.Positioning your online profile to become even more enticing to the prospects you are targeting
For most people, deciding which platform to focus on will be a choice between Facebook and LinkedIn but you can definitely use other platforms to generate leads and appointments for your business. If you are a B2B business and you identify your targets based on business demographics such as industry and title then LinkedIn is a great place to start. B2C businesses can still use LinkedIn though for things like connecting with vendors or PR professionals. You typically would not search for B2C customers on LinkedIn.
Facebook is a better place to focus if your prospect profile does not have a lot of business demographic identifiers. For example if you were someone like a holistic healer or a life coach then Facebook would be a better place to focus your efforts and you would then join groups that cater to the interests of your prospects.
Once you research and identify the correct platform then it is time for you to start joining groups. Spend some time researching the best groups that house your prospects and join 30-50 groups.
What Do Your Prospects Care About?
This is an exercise in putting yourself in your prospect's shoes. If we can learn how they think and what is important to them, then it will help you to position your foundation as best as possible. This starts by having an understanding of the prospect's Value Identifiers.
Optimizing your own LinkedIn Profile.
There are numerous social media platforms out there that will allow you to create an online profile. Each platform is different but LinkedIn is the most robust and most suitable for a B2B model.
Picture - People worry far too much about whether the photo was taken by a professional photographer or if they are wearing a suit and sitting at their desk in front of the computer. What matters is that your profile shot is a nice clean headshot of you and that you are smiling which will portray you as friendly and will be more open to talking. Also using the same photo across all of your profiles will help tie your online brand and presence together.
Profile Background Photo - Many platforms allow you to upload a background photo to your profile. Use this space to your advantage and think about what is important for you to communicate. If family is important to your prospects then maybe putting a picture of your family there will be a great way to connect with your targets.
This space can also be used for some sort of call to action as well. I would make the call to action the same as what you have throughout the rest of your profile.
Headline - This is what many people will judge you on because attention spans are short. Most people are not going to dig through the weeds researching everything you have written in your profile. You want the headline to speak to your differentiators. What makes you different or unique? Why should somebody do business with you over a competitor? If there's a really succinct way of getting that across, that would be awesome.
Summary and Call to Action - Your summary section is basically the long story version of your headline. You are you? What do you do? What is your story? Nothing can ever take the place of compelling copy. This is not the place to just write down a laundry list of services/products you provide. You need to tell your story but keep in mind who the audience is. If you write four paragraphs of copy that don't relate to your prospects then you've wasted your space.
Yes, this section is definitely about you but you need to make the story you tell enticing to your prospects. Your summary needs to come from a place that your prospects care about. You can make that connection by talking about the people you work with and the problems you solve and why you are passionate about it.
Tell a story that paints the picture you want to convey to your prospects, highlight your differentiators, and close with a call-to-action.
The call-to-action is an important part of the profile. What do you want your prospects to do when they visit your profile? Choose that one thing and focus on that CTA throughout, but definitely make sure it is in your summary. You can use Unicode symbols to make sure your CTA is highlighted, but don't overdo it with those symbols.
Also if you have any media or advertisements, case studies, reports or downloads, you could embed them under the summary section.
Experience - You want to make sure your experience section is beefed up a bit. This is usually the best place to detail your offerings more specifically. Both for your current and past positions; services, products, features, benefits, etc.
Make sure to add some of your past experience in addition to your current company. You can add a brief narrative under each of your most recent past experiences, discussing how these experiences add value to the offerings you represent today. It adds credibility and gives people a history (unless it is so wildly different than what you do now, that it would be viewed as a negative)
All the Other Details - Spend some time getting the small details filled out as well; skills, education, projects etc. etc. This kind of stuff is a small piece of the pie but because it is low hanging fruit it is generally best to have these sections filled out as well.
Building and growing Your LinkedIn Database
Your Database will become one of your most valuable assets that you build using this system. It's extremely important that you have an understanding of who your best prospects are so that you are connecting with quality targets and not just random people.
If you are in the least bit unsure, please talk to your coach or advisor before you begin your database build so as not to waste time and connections.
Your Database will become the lifeblood of your business. Make sure it is healthy and constantly growing.