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Linked in for sales


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Many believe that LinkedIn is merely an online resume application. Some use it to network with peers within a company or industry. The truly savvy business professional understands the value of LinkedIn as a BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT tool.

In this ebook Jim Sevier of Convergence Readiness provides an outline on how to develop an effective LinkedIn strategy that can help you grow and protect your business.

Jim Sevier is the founder of Convergence Readiness and is a respected technologist and professional speaker on the topics of business development, technology and emerging social media practices.

Published in: Technology, Business
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Linked in for sales

  1. 1. LinkedIn for Sales Best Practices to Grow and Protect Your Business @JustAskSevier
  2. 2. About the Author: Jim Sevier, Founder Convergence Readiness Jim Sevier is an accomplished technologist, business builder, thought leader, educator and professional presenter. Before founding Convergence Readiness, Jim worked for such noted companies as Lucent Technologies, Avaya and Intel Corporation. Jim has also presented to Intel’s Gordon Moore, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the Korean White House. Follow Jim on Twitter @JustAskSevier
  3. 3. Table Of Contents: Chapter One: Get Started 1 Chapter Two: Build Your Profile 2 Chapter Three: Build Your Connections 4 Chapter Four: Secure Your Connections 7 Chapter Five: Understand Endorsements 8 Checklist: Summary 9 @JustAskSevier
  4. 4. By now most of us have heard about online professional development and networking tools such as LinkedIn. These Internet applications allow you to post your professional profile in the form of an online resume and then connect to peers. The value of these applications is twofold: 1) It allows you to easily create a network of peers 2) It allows you to build connections to people you do not yet know. Why should I care? The reason this is so valuable (especially to those in sales) is that the connections you build can give you access to other people that you may want to start a business relationship with. The key becomes building the right connections and having a profile that is professional and attractive. Let’s jump in… Chapter One: Get Started “There are hundreds of millions of professionals worldwide who have a LinkedIn profile.” @JustAskSevier
  5. 5. The first step towards developing the right connections is having a well developed and professional profile. Let’s start with your profile picture. Your picture should be in focus, high resolution and black and white. You should be larger than your backdrop and you should either have a smile that shows teeth or no smile at all. Try not to grin. Have a GREAT Summary: Your summary should be no more than 75 words. The key is to keep it short and to speak in natural language. (Try not to use industry jargon or slang). You should say something about yourself, the company you currently work for and any special skills (e.g. Public Speaking, Multilingual, etc.) “Make certain everything is spelled correctly.” Chapter Two: Build Your Profile “Professional” “Looks good in a tuxedo.” “What does your picture say about you?” @JustAskSevier
  6. 6. The next element is your employment history. Again, keep it brief. You only need to list three previous employers (unless you really want this to be an online resume) and only give your position and length of employment for each. If you like you can give more detail about your current position than the other two positions. One Other Element to Consider: LinkedIn provides a space right below your name for you to place a title. The thing to remember is that you are much more than the title you currently hold. Try to use this space in your profile to explain who you are. Stay away from being too cute or ambitious with your description. “Sales Animal” is not good. “Sales Executive” is better but still too boring. “Business Minded Selling Professional” is much better. In short, tell YOUR story…but make it easy to read and interesting. Chapter Two: Build Your Profile “The single greatest piece of advice I can give you about your profile is to give it life!” “Resume or Profile: You Choose!” @JustAskSevier
  7. 7. Now that we have a professional and attractive profile we can start developing our strategy to grow our connections. Connections come in two categories. 1. People we want to connect with 2. People who want to connect with us How Do I Get Connected?: Start by creating a connection filter and then pass each connection request through it. Here is an example of my connection filter; • Are they in an industry I am targeting or in a complimentary industry to mine? Yes? (Continue) No? (Stop) • Do they hold a position of power or influence in their industry? Yes? (Continue) No? Could knowing them improve my influence? Yes? (Continue) No? (Stop) • Are they well connected on LinkedIn? Yes? (Continue) No (Stop) Chapter Three: Build Your Connections “ Don’t use the template connection request form. Instead write a personal note.” @JustAskSevier
  8. 8. Even though LinkedIn is about numbers of connections, in sales it is also about the QUALITY of those connections. So how do you find (and connect to) quality people? How Do I Join Groups? Groups are created by LinkedIn members as a way to develop better connections with like minded people. Nearly ever industry has a LinkedIn Group. If you don’t know where to start you can look up someone in that industry and see which groups they follow. You can also use the Search bar and put in the name of the industry (ex. Retail Marketing Professionals) The search results will usually contain multiple groups. The group with the most connections is the group you too should join. A word of caution: If you join a group to advertise your service you will be quickly removed from that group. Remember, this is about learning and socializing; not selling. Chapter Three: Build Your Connections @JustAskSevier
  9. 9. Here are 3 best practices when joining groups: 1. When submitting your membership request make certain to be honest about your intentions. 2. Do not immediately respond in the discussion forums. Take a week to listen to the members of your group, learn their needs, so you can better serve them. 3. When you do engage in discussion keep your responses and inquiries brief. Many people like to give long, detailed responses. Don’t be that person. Instead make your point and offer your input in as brief a manner as possible. Again, please do not advertise or ask for connections within groups. Usually each group has a code of conduct that you must adhere to. If you break the rules you will quickly be removed from the group. Chapter Three: Build Your Connections “Groups are a great place to meet lots of people within an industry.” @JustAskSevier
  10. 10. By now you have spent a considerable amount of time and energy locating and connecting to people that will improve your network of connections. The next step is to make certain that those connections remain invisible to others. Why Secure My Connections? When you connect to someone you are telling LinkedIn that you know the person. This means they can view all the connections in your network. Most times this is not a good idea. Remember that peer you connected to at the office? Well they just left and went to a competitor. Now they can take your connections and reach out to them. To keep this from occurring you can change your connection visibility so that only you can see your unique connections. Chapter Four: Secure Your Connections On the top of the page select Profile and then Edit Profile Scroll to the bottom of the screen and click on Customize visibility. You will be asked to log back into LinkedIn (security) Then select “Only You” and save changes @JustAskSevier
  11. 11. LinkedIn uses endorsements as a tool to measure your expertise or knowledge in various fields. The trouble is that most people hand out endorsements far too easily. Simple Endorsement Rules: 1. Endorse people you KNOW for the skills you KNOW they have. (Just b/c LinkedIn says to endorse Bob for Sales Mgt. doesn’t mean you have to.) 2. Manage your endorsements. Many times people endorse us for skills we either don’t have or would rather not have on our profile. Removing Endorsements: Click on the Profile – Edit Profile tab at the top of your LinkedIn page. Scroll down to Skills & Expertise and hit the blue Edit icon. Find the Skill you want to delete and hit the “x” on the label. That’s all it takes! Chapter Five: Understand Endorsements @JustAskSevier
  12. 12. Your Profile Checklist: So there you have it! A simple guide to follow to maintain a professional profile that helps you locate and connect to new business. Let’s review the Highlights: • LinkedIn is more than an online resume – The 250M+ people who use LinkedIn provide a way for you to connect to those you wish to do business with but do not yet know. • However you utilize LinkedIn (Resume or Connections) it is best to make certain your profile stands out (and not in a bad way) – Think of this as your professional tattoo. Do you want misspelled words or fuzzy images. Make it colorful, clear and accurate • If you use LinkedIn for building connections you better have a strategy – Start with a Professional Profile, Join groups that include the people you are actively looking to connect with and make certain you interact in thoughtful (and brief) messages @JustAskSevier
  13. 13. Your Profile Checklist: • You don’t want your competition to see your connections – Locking down your connections should be the first thing you do. – Check often to see if you share connections with your competitors • Use Endorsements wisely – Make certain you know who it is you are endorsing – Manage your endorsements proactively If you would like information on using LinkedIn for Sales please connect with Jim at (you guessed it) @JustAskSevier