There is no doubt that LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful platform in which to try and grow your business.
If you have a clear target market that you focus on, LinkedIn provides you with the chance to identify and find prospects that you can engage with. You get the chance to find out a bit more about the person, what they like, who they are connected with and their interests.
LinkedIn is also a great platform to share articles, videos and thoughts that you have on how you can help the target customers you work with!
If used effectively then LinkedIn can really help you position yourself effectively in your space but if used in the wrong way, it can really hamper what others think to you.
I love to connect with new people and learn about them and what they do but I am seeing very basic errors being made with LinkedIn which you need to avoid! The picture to the right shows an example of what I mean.
A few days ago, I agreed to connect with someone in my local area as I thought it could be interesting to see how we could help each other but within just a few days, I got this message (right).
I have removed the person’s details as I don’t think it is fair to show them up but the first aspect of engagement they have with me is one where they try to sell to me a service.
I wrote on a blog a week or so ago on how it is so important to not to try and sell to someone on the first time you engage with them but yet it seems like so many continue to make this mistake.
When you engage with someone for the first time via LinkedIn then please please please DO NOT TRY and sell to them straight away.
Doing this puts people off and is likely to get you ‘unconnected’ pretty quickly.
I do think it is a good idea to try and send a message and attempt to get to know the person better. Maybe ask them what prompted them to connect or what their goals and plans are for the year?
Maybe share an article with them that you have seen that could be of interest based on what you have seen about them but please don’t just go and see them as another contact to be sent your duff marketing information to!
Now someone might tell me that this approach works and that sales is a numbers game and trust me I know about sales numbers and I also know you need to try things. You do however with any prospect need to build some form of trust and show some form of value before people will want to do business with you.
In the example above, why would I be interested in an offer when:
I don’t know what results they have achieved for anyone else
I don’t know if I am even a fit for what they do
The great Stephen Covey said, ‘seek first to understand in order to be understood’ and in this case that advice is so important. If you do connect with new ‘potential prospects’ via LinkedIn, then don’t make the mistake of trying to sell and promote your stuff before you get to know about them.
You may find that they are not a fit for you but that’s ok as they might have other connections that are a better fit and you may find they share articles and stories which help you develop and grow.
I see people doing this and also taking my email address and adding it to their list (that is a subject of another blog itself!) and in doing this they are harming more than helping their chances of winning business with that person in the future.
LinkedIn is powerful and can be a fantastic route to you winning new business but be very careful on how you use it! Try and sell too early and it will put people off you and your company which defeats the object of you trying to connect in the first place!
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James White is the UK's leading prospect conversion expert. He understands what it takes to convert leads into real business within the modern digital era and what it takes to achieve business success.