LinkedIn can be a powerful sales tool. But in order to get results, you have to use it consistently.
Create a New Sales Habit
If you’re in sales (or any job, really!) your day is already jam packed. How can you make time for LinkedIn?
Learning something new can be a drag at first. It takes time to learn new systems and develop new habits. It also takes a commitment to stay with it long enough to develop a level of proficiency that will get you a return on your investment.
So, to answer the question “How can you make time for LinkedIn?” -- you simply must schedule time to focus on it if you feel strongly enough about the ROI in the long run. And, just like anything else, it’ll get easier as you begin to incorporate it into your daily activities.
If you’re ready to jump in, here are six activities you can do to start creating good LinkedIn habits.
Start connecting with current customers, prospects, vendors and other people who would add value to your network. Use a personalized invitation, don’t just use the default “I’d like to connect with you on LinkedIn” message. A personalized invite shows you’re interested in the person for real (enough to create your own message). Read more about how to connect with people on LinkedIn.
Here are two easy ways you can use LinkedIn to help you build rapport.
- Anytime you are meeting someone new, check out their LinkedIn profile. See what you can learn about them and how you might add value to each other’s network. If it makes sense, ask them to connect with you.
- Before you go into a meeting with someone, read their profile to find out if there are any nuggets of information that can help you advance the sales process. Read more about how to use LinkedIn to build rapport.
Every day, take a minute and scroll through your LinkedIn home page. That’s it! You’ll start to get to know your network better just by doing this one simple thing.
Use the status update to share valuable and relevant industry information with your network. Note: This is not the “I had a bagel for breakfast” kind of thing.
- Share articles from your LinkedIn home screen. If you see that one of your network connections has posted a cool article on your home page that you think your own network connections might find valuable, then “like,” “share” or “comment” on it.
- Share industry articles from other online sources. Find online industry resources and share the articles. Almost all online articles have a “share” feature. It’s actually really easy and it keeps your name in front of your network connections. More importantly, you’re being a valuable resource by sharing good info.
Read more about ways to share on LinkedIn.
5. Participate in LinkedIn Groups
Find some LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your business or industry. Keep tabs on the discussions going on there and participate when it seems prudent.
Understanding how to really leverage LinkedIn groups takes some time, but once you get into some groups and pay attention to them on a regular basis, you’ll start generating ideas on what groups are right for you and how you can leverage them for maximum impact.
Read more about how NOT to use LinkedIn groups.
6. Brainstorm Article Topics / Write and Share Your Own Articles
Okay, I know for many people blogging seems daunting. So if you’re not doing it yet, just take baby steps. The first thing to do is keep the thought of communicating information to your prospects via blogging in mind. When you’re talking to prospects or reading LinkedIn group discussions, write down anything that triggers an idea for an article.
The idea is to always be brainstorming. If you do, when the times comes to produce articles, you’ll have a bank of ideas ready to go. And you can either do it yourself or talk to your marketing or sales manager about your blog topic ideas.
Read more about how to get over the hump of starting to blog.
These six activities are a great start to getting familiar with LinkedIn. If you really want to develop good LinkedIn habits and see if you can get sales leads from it, make a commitment to use it every day for one month. Set a goal, and go for it!