Sales Moves

LinkedIn is great for business — smart business

April 26, 2013
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I am not a LinkedIn expert, but I do have more than 15,000 LinkedIn connections. Do you?

I may have more visibility and notoriety than you do, but we are equal in exposure and linking possibilities. And 98.5 percent  of my LinkedIn connections are the result of people wanting to connect with me.

I do not accept everyone. I click on everyone’s profile before connection. Many are impressive. Most are average or less. Some are pathetic.

How’s your LinkedIn profile? How many connections do you have? How are you communicating with your connections? How are your connections helping your sales or your career?

Your LinkedIn profile is one more social media image. And you choose exactly what it is. When others search for you on Google, LinkedIn is one of the first links they click on. You have a chance to make a positive business and social impression.

THE GOOD: When I realized the business significance of LinkedIn, I immediately sought professional help. I hired Joe Soto at One Social Media to help me with the keywords, layout and what to include on my profile page. He also recommended what and how to post.

It must be working. In the two years since I hired him, I have added more than 9,000 organic connections. Or should I say, more than 9,000 potential customers. Huge opportunity — at an acquisition cost of zero.

Reality of LinkedIn: I receive requests to link and I also get messages. Some are very nice, some are self-serving, some are insincere and some are stupid (very stupid). And all messages are a reflection of the person sending them. That would be you.

Here are some things about LinkedIn to make you think, re-think and act:

  • Your picture is NOT an option. Show a professional, but approachable, image. Be proud of who you are.
  • Have a LinkedIn profile that gives me insight, not just history. Not just what you’ve done, but also who you are. Your profile is your pathway to connection.
  • Danger: Do not use stock LinkedIn messages. It shows your laziness, lack of creativity and overall lack of professionalism. Standard LinkedIn messages need to be replaced with your own — every time.
  • If you’re looking for a job, or working a lead, tell me why I should connect. (Where’s the value?)
  • If you’re looking for leads, use the keyword feature (rather than the job title option) in the “advanced search” link to the right of the search box. It’s free, and you’ll find hundreds of people in your industry or in your backyard that you never knew existed.
  • Why are sending me an e-card on Easter? I’m Jewish — not a good move. Three words to ask yourself with any message you send or post: Where’s the value? E-cards are a total waste, unless it’s family.
  • If you’re asking me (or people) to join your group, tell me why I should.
  • If you’re asking me to connect you with a second level connection, don’t. The only way to ask is from first to first. And tell me in a sentence or two why you want to connect.
  • Asking for a recommendation or endorsement is bad. If you’re asking your connections for a recommendation: don’t. It is perhaps the dumbest, rudest thing on LinkedIn. Think about it: You’re asking people to “please stop what you’re doing and tell me about me.” Two words: Go away. If you have to ask, it’s probably because you don’t deserve it. Think about that.
  • Don’t tell me you “found something interesting” in your group message, especially if the link is to join your MLM down-line or attend your “free” webinar.
  • Allocate 30 to 60 minutes a day to utilize this vital business social media asset.

THE BAD and THE UGLY: Here are some examples of messages and invites I have received on LinkedIn. Hopefully, they’ll make you think, re-think and act:

BAD: Hi Jeffrey, My name is …. with …., a leading …. provider that helps organizations connect with their customers through email, mobile and social networks. I would like to connect about a potential partnership to help Buy Gitomer Inc. increase its interactive marketing ROI.

This is a typical self-serving (and deleted) message. Why not give me a tip and ask if I’d like more like it? And stop using dead sales words like “ROI” and “helps organizations.” Help me, don’t sell me.

DUMB: Hi All, As I continue to work on building my network, can I ask that you do me a huge favor and endorse me here on LinkedIn? I would be more than happy to return the favor and endorse you as well. Thank you for your support! (Name withheld to avoid public embarrassment)

Scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours. Give me a break. Spare me. Beg someone else.

BAD AND DUMB: I got this in my message box (I get a few like this every week). (Subject line): Your opinion please. (Name withheld), Supplier Business Executive

If you’re hoping for an endorsement or a recommendation on LinkedIn, or anywhere, here’s the two-word mantra: Earn it!

LinkedIn is the business social media site of today AND tomorrow. Harness its power, do not abuse its options, and you will reap its rewards.

Jeffrey Gitomer’s website, www.gitomer.com, has information about training and seminars, or email him personally at salesman@gitomer.com.

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