Without question, LinkedIn has become pretty darn popular and certainly widely recognized as THE social networking tool for business. That’s good news. But what isn’t good news is that far too many people still don’t seem to understand the serious power of what LinkedIn can do for them. Every group I speak too confirms what I already knew – people have profiles on LinkedIn, but they totally don’t have a clue about what to do next. As I am fond of saying, a passive LinkedIn profile that is incomplete, poorly written or sitting alone in the corner waiting for someone to stop by and visit them gets you nowhere.
The Power of Search
One of the most valuable elements of LinkedIn is the ability to create searches. This is the way that I create prospect lists. Of course the key is to have a network that is rich enough to be able to pull substantive data from and that all depends on your ability to create a network that is quality AND quantity. My 500+ connections gives me access to roughly 5.2M people. That’s what I like to call leverage.
Every workshop or speaking engagement I ever conduct, I like to whip out my favorite LinkedIn party trick. It goes like this. Regardless the group, I always ask a few people in the audience to tell me who their “ideal” client is. Then I run a quick search of my network to find out if I know anyone. In every case, 100% of the time, I have that ideal client in my network. Needless to say it wows the audience.
Working with Joan Curtis, my book writing partner (we are writing The New Handshake™: Sales 2.0), we experimented with this today. Joan asked me who I knew at Wells Fargo. She has a client that focuses on the banking industry and thought it would be fun to test my theory. All I did was run a search on Wells Fargo and got back a list of 70,939 names! Now that’s the power of a network.
Savvy salespeople can use search to define their ideal targets and create a list to follow up on. The idea is to look for people connected with you and connected to you at the 2nd level. Then you leverage your first line connection for an introduction. That’s one of many ways to use LinkedIn to increase your sales. To really be able to tap the power though you must build a business network that combines quality connections with quantity. That leads to the kind of serious access you are looking for. If you only have 20 or so contacts and they are so-so at best, you aren’t going to get far!
Here’s how you Search People – Search for specific names or use advanced search to narrow your search.
* Use additional fields to filter your results (e.g., title, company, industry, language, school, etc.).
* Create saved searches that dynamically update as new people matching the criteria enter your network.
* Receive weekly email alerting you to changes/updates to your saved search.
Search Jobs – Search for general position or use advanced search to narrow your search using additional fields to filter your results (e.g., job title, company, job function, industry, etc.).
Search Companies – Type in a company name and get results of people you or your connections know at that company. Your search results will show who your 2nd and 3rd level connections are within that company. They can help you secure introductions to others within that company.
Colleague Troy Johnson once said that you are either LinkedIn or linked out. I couldn’t agree more!