Have you received an email asking you to connect on LinkedIn? If so, you are like many business men and women in the Corridor. LinkedIn’s slogan is “World’s Largest Professional Network,” and they have become the online chamber of commerce for networking. Launched in 2003, LinkedIn is the oldest social network on the web, with 225 million members of professionals compared to Facebook’s 1 billion members.
LinkedIn was originally thought of as a job search website but has expanded to so much more. Savvy Corridor sales professionals are realizing the power of LinkedIn in their sales process and are attributing opportunities to their LinkedIn. This digital Rolodex allows for easy networking and researching prospective business associates.
Get started on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has made creating your profile like a game. The more personal content you put into your profile the further you progress in your usage status, eventually working your way up to “Expert” or “All-Star.” After adding basic content such as name, title or headline, summary, education, past work history, and volunteer work, you can upload your professional photo for visual recognition. When composing your profile summary, position yourself as an expert in your field. Focus on how you help, not what you do for living. You can even set a custom URL for business cards or email signatures.
As with anything online, privacy and security is always a high concern at Hills Bank. We encourage you to change passwords every 90 days. Be sure to sign out of your account instead of simply closing the browser when finished using LinkedIn or any social site. Connect only to those you know and trust. If you are leery of sharing personal information, stick to the basic content on your business card.
Once you complete your profile you can work on advanced features in LinkedIn for business development. Start by searching existing customers for prospective connections you may already know on LinkedIn based on contacts, education, and employment background. Remember, connecting with more people increases future opportunities.
Companies are finding that LinkedIn is not only a good way to find future employees, but it is also a good way to market products and services available to the professional community. Search for company profiles you may want to follow. Each time a company shares content, you can stay abreast of their activities. This allows you to learn about specials or business anniversaries they are celebrating and to make additional appropriate impressions.
Top sales producers do some type of pre-call planning, whether it’s asking co-workers what they know or visiting a company website. Getting to know your prospects inside and out allows you to identify “pains” they may be feeling. Ideally, your company has a solution for those “pains.”
LinkedIn allows you to research specific companies or industries. You can search company names, keywords such as “realtor,” zip codes, and more. If you find a search you like, you can save it to use in identifying future sales opportunities.
Join LinkedIn Groups
As you connect with your network, you will find professional groups that have formed. Locate groups of interest to you and your business. There are groups for area home builders associations, alumni organizations or even QuickBook users. As you join groups you may find something new or develop connections with similar interests. When you’re a part of a group you can actively participate with discussions or forums. Position yourself as an expert in your field and share your expertise.
LinkedIn can be a valuable asset in your networking routine when maintained on a daily basis. Start today by connecting with your local Hills Bank bankers!