Linkedin has been in the news lately about its poor decisions when it comes to the user interface, product offerings and most importantly, its ability to generate sustainable revenue as seen in the 80% drop in its stock market price.
But in the long run, Linkedin is still as valuable as ever. And here’s why.
It offers both the ability to connect with potential leads on both a paid and free basis.
I personally, do not pay for any of the services, but there are some benefits to having paid accounts.
If you are a recruiter, my clients get alot of value out of the paid recruiter platforms, so sometimes, free isn’t always better.
But if you are not a recruiter and you are looking for new sales leads, then this is the article for you.
The idea is simple. Maybe you are already doing this and didn’t even realize the potential it has.
Connect with as many people as you can. But, be strategic about it. Look for titles that will be decision makers. If you are going after a particular company, you may be better connecting with as many people as you can from that company, even if they aren’t decision makers. Why? So when decision makers look at your invite and see you are already connected with several of their colleagues, it makes the invite more credible and gives them a greater sense of trust in accepting your invitation to link.
About 2 weeks after someone accepts your invite, reach out to them with a message somewhat like this…
Thanks for connecting. Would love to learn more about what’s happening at [Company Name] these days.
Do you have time for a call tomorrow or next Thursday any time between 9 a.m. and noon?
This message isn’t for everybody you have connected with, it’s for those identified decision makers.
Wait. Most of the time, you won’t get a response. Some of the time you will get a “No Thanks” reply, and, every once in a while you will strike someone at the right time who will be interested in saying yes.
Are all those non-responses and no’s a waste of time to have sent? Absolutely not! This is the process of planting seeds, some will need more time to flourish, some will need more follow-up down the road, some may not need you now but will remember that message they got from you when the time arises that they need what you have to offer.
While its easy to start this process, the hard part is staying the course and keeping it going. Following up with those non-answers in another month or two and following up with the no’s at an appropriate time in the future.
Tracking all of this.
After a while, tracking can become a major problem. If you don’t have a CRM like ACT, Salesforce, etc… there are several Free CRM’s that will work great if you are a small company or solo-entrepreneur.
Linkedin also keeps message history in your mail client and you can view messages sent to a prospect on each of their Linkedin pages.
The best part of this is that is has a very little direct cost, so in your downtime between hot prospect meetings, this is a great way to keep filling the lead nurturing funnel.