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Gerry Weinberg & Associates, Inc. | Southfield, Michigan

The world of social media is often overwhelming and misunderstood for a lot of sales people. The biggest mistake I see is not maximizing the abilities within LinkedIn®. LinkedIn® should be used as a powerful branding, research and prospecting tool. In preparation for a recent LinkedIn® session, I put together a list of some of my favorite LinkedIn® Strategies to use for growing your business.

1. Talk to your audience, not about yourself- Your profile is the foundation for building your social selling platform. Ensure your profile description contains a solid 30 second commercial that resonates to ideal prospects in your specific industry. Make your message relevant to them, not all about you.

2. Enhance Your Visibility- Complete your profile to 90% or above and keep it current. LinkedIn® makes it easy to know what to eliminate or add to ensure you are at least at 90%.

3. Call your prospect to action- When your page receives visitors that are interested in learning more about how you can help them, there should be a direct and focused call to action. Invite your reader to reach out, download a free report or special offer that would resonate for them. The call to action should be directly linked to a problem you can solve and the value you or your organization bring.

4. The Power of Third-Party Endorsements- Pro-actively request some of your best clients or referral partners to leave a brief but meaningful recommendation for you. Genuine recommendations and endorsements are required for the “social proof” potential buyers will be looking for when viewing your profile.

5. Keep it Professional- LinkedIn® is not Facebook or Twitter. Keep your tone and correspondence professional at all times. This is a business social network, and your associates will judge how you portray yourself on LinkedIn®.

6. No Spam Messages- An important aspect of using LinkedIn® is talking to a potential customer one-on-one...but not contacting them with spam. Personalize your message and make sure you are asking relevant questions and providing information that is exclusive to their business demands.

7. Respond Promptly- When someone reaches out to you on LinkedIn®, it is important to respond quickly. They took action in contacting you for a reason. The sooner you can respond, the better they will remember why; and the more you raise your credibility by being responsive.

8. The Right LinkedIn® Groups- LinkedIn® groups that focus on your job category can keep you current and visible. Information is constantly adapting and evolving. Industry relevant groups help you stay relevant in your workplace. Participate in the discussions as an industry expert sharing pertinent information, not as a sales pitch.

9. Make smart connections- You should consistently be building your connections to quality people that you know or fit the demographic of someone you would want to know. Quality over quantity is the best tool for using your connections for leads and introductions.

10. Focus on 2nd connections- Anyone who shows up as a second connection to you, you should have a warm introduction opportunity. If you are connected to quality connections they are your best source to get introduced to those 2nd connections you are trying to meet.

11. Search your connections- Search who your connections are connected to by using key demographics that fit your ideal target prospect profile. (Ex: CEO, Director of Sales, HR director etc.)

12. Advanced Search- You can run and save searches using the advanced search function. Type in the key ideal target prospect demographics for you (geography, title, company size, industry etc.) Use the searches to focus on second connections to start the introduction.

13. Add value to your network- On a regular basis you should be sharing relevant information (not selling to your connections.) Examples can include items from your homepage, relevant industry or topic news shared by others on LinkedIn® or the internet, and tips and trends for your target industries.

14. Commit to the behavior during off hours- Be sure to block out time, outside normal regular working hours to search your connections and build your prospecting lists. Block the time early in the morning, on the weekend or at night while you are watching your favorite TV show.

15. Give more to receive more- My favorite Sandler rule – “To get more give more” is especially relevant to LinkedIn®. Give recommendations and endorsements proactively, offer to connect key people together for referrals and introductions….you will be amazed and how it comes back to you.

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