Any sales people out there remember the good old Rolodex? When I say remember, I should explain that Rolodex is still going ‘strong’ producing the device that holds specially shaped index cards that the user writes on the contact information of any new contact or company.
Times have moved on though, with client management systems (CRMs) such as Salesforce.com and Infusionsoft, to name just two, providing salespeople with the ability to input hundreds, in fact thousands of companies and individuals for the purposes of follow up – you’d need a great number of Rolodex systems on your desk to achieve the same level of client recording.
Now LinkedIn is far from being a CRM system but most of us will have noticed in the past 12 months a significant number of platform enhancements from the professional online networking site, most are useful, some extremely annoying. Nevertheless, from a sales perspective, LinkedIn has a significant number of benefits, which, if applied consistently, will transform your ability to create more sales and importantly, more profitable sales.
One of the most useful and recent enhancements, especially if you can’t afford a fancy CRM system, is the new LinkedIn ‘Relationship‘ tab. Accessible from other’s profiles, this new feature enables you to record personal notes about your new LinkedIn contact, including how you met them, a reminder of who introduced you and it will even allow you to schedule a reminder for when you want to get in touch with your contact again.
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With all this in mind, here is my 7 day plan to help you create more profitable sales, using LinkedIn, in just 15-20 minutes a day:
- Monday – Using a scheduling tool, such as Hootsuite, schedule useful posts, 3 times a day, for the next 7 days. Consider the times of day when your target audience is most likely to be on their SmartPhones or PCs e.g. commute times – Time 10 minutes. Respond to any relevant invitations to connect or inbox messages – Time 5 minutes
- Tuesday – Search relevant LinkedIn company pages, groups or use LinkedIn’s search platform to find 5-10 relevant target contacts and invite them to connect. Time 15 minutes. – Check who’s viewed your profile and respond to any relevant individuals by inviting them to connect – Time 5 minutes.
- Wednesday – In the 2 or 3 LinkedIn groups you have decided to be most active in either a) start a discussion that you believe will encourage responses from members or b) respond to any existing discussion where you feel your comments will add value and create recognition for you personally –Time 15 minutes.
- Thursday – Search relevant LinkedIn company pages, groups or use LinkedIn’s search platform to find 5 relevant target contacts and invite them to connect – Time 15 minutes. – Check who’s viewed your profile and respond to any relevant individuals by inviting them to connect – Time 5 minutes.
- Friday – Send a useful and relevant content message to your connections that you have saved in specific LinkedIn tags. Using tags you can send a LinkedIn email to up to 50 of your connections in one bulk message. – Time 15 minutes. Respond to any relevant invitations to connect or inbox messages – Time 5 minutes
- Saturday – Check who’s viewed your LinkedIn profile and any invitations to connect received and invite relevant people to connect with you. – Time 10 minutes.
- Sunday – Plan what key messages you will share with your LinkedIn network next week. What current issues or challenges are your target audience facing at the moment and how can you help solve these problems for them? – Time 15-20 minutes.
7 days?! I know, 7 days – ‘I’ve got to work 7 days?!’ I can hear you say. No, you don’t – in fact you don’t have to do any work at all to try and generate more sales. However, what I have presented you with is a schedule of just 15-20 minutes a day, where, before breakfast, at tea time, in your lunch break, on the train, bus, taxi, in fact at any point in your day, you can undertake simple but effective LinkedIn tasks that if done consistently, week in, week out, will ensure that you:
- Raise your brand profile with your target audience
- Increase the size of your professional network with relevant prospects
- Share your expertise with your target audience and attract interest in what you do
- Build relationships with many LinkedIn connections who will come to know, like and trust you – meaning they will buy you, more so than your price. This equals more profitable sales.
- Manage your prospects by easily accessing them in tags
- Are focused on growing your sales and not just daily operational tasks
And if you can’t find time for the above? Clearly the more time you can devote to sales & marketing, the better and at the bare minimum, even if you can’t find time to perform any of the above tasks, ensure that for any new sales prospect you come into contact with that you give yourself the edge. How? By finding out as much as possible about this potential new client by finding them on LinkedIn and researching their personal profile as well as his/her company page to find who the other key influencers might be.
One final point – content sharing on LinkedIn is easy. However, if you want to curate or create really useful content that will engage and enthral those you want to do business with, then you’re going to need to spend additional time over an above the 7 day plan outlined above.