If all you care about is selling your product, you will definitely scare off a lot of potential customers. Finding new customers is all about connecting with and creating value for the people who can benefit the most from your product or service. You've got to get online and start actively looking for the people and businesses who are already connected to someone you know...think of it as a "6 Degrees of Kevin Bacon" effect.
Name an actor or a famous person. How many degrees are they away from Kevin Bacon? Elvis Presley has a Bacon Number of 2. Anne Frank's Bacon Number is 3. Mark Zuckerberg's is 4.
What's your Bacon Number?
Ok, so maybe your Bacon Number won't help you connect to and find more customers, but there is a social media tool that you're probably under-utilizing that would help you find those customers who are enthusiastic promoters:
Are you so suprised that your old Finance 101 classmate knows your cousin who lives in Hong Kong? Or how is it that your x-boss went to dinner the other night with your weight-traning coach? Small, small world. Thanks to social media you can find out who knows who, and how this 6-degrees of separation rule might be getting smaller.
You are very connected these days. In fact, it's almost impossible to disconnect.
But your business is not totally connected. You're not even close to 6 degrees from Kevin Bacon (aka your golden customers who will promote the heck out of your business)...you're not even trying where it counts.
You've got Twitter and Facebook rolling, and the "likes" and "favorites" are rolling in. What else could you possibly take on? You despise social media, and you're only doing it because all the cool kids are doing it...and maybe you've actually got some business from it.
LinkedIn! Of course. While you're busy hanging out where the cool kids are at, all the professional people who are actually the ones who are interested in your services/products are quietly connecting over in that nerdy section of the world wide web.
Here's 3 ways to leverage LinkedIn to get more profitable:
#1: Connect With Your Connections' Connections
Use LinkedIn to connect with your current customers--especially your customers that love you most. They are your best referral system.
Connecting is more than sending a "connect" request. You're not done once they've accepted your request. LinkedIn is a great way to keep up with what's going on with your customers. You can see what's going on with work and their business. Make sure you are sincerely interested in all the good things happening, and watch for any signs that you might be the person to help them if they need it.
Once you connect with your current customers then you can start looking at their connections, researching their needs and how you can help them as well. It's a lot easier to approach people and businesses when you have a common connection. Your trust rating goes through the roof.
Here's a list of our favorite suggestions from sales and marketing experts:
#2 - Give If You Want to Receive
Why are you in business in the first place? What do you provide that no one else does? As you connect with customers and prospects on LinkedIn, remember how you can help them. You need to create value for them. Put in that extra mile of work to show them that you really do care about their success, and you want to make sure that you're on the team that helps them get there. You need to be your customers' loudest cheerleader.
As you monitor their LinkedIn updates, really watch for any signs that they could use your help. It could be as simple as sending them a helpful link, or it could be that what they need is your product or service. Their success is your success.
Beware, your customers can smell a sales attempt a mile away. You need to be authentic, and really invested in their success. Remember: you're there to help them, not sell to them.
Here's some quick and easy ways to create value for your best connections and their connections:
#3 - It's OK to Ask For a Favor
Referrals. You need them. Ask your best promoters if they would write up a referral for you on LinkedIn. The great thing about having them write a referral on LinkedIn for you is that they only have to do it once. Rather than writing a referral to different entities they can write a generic referral on your profile, and you don't have to ask them to do it again. It saves both of you time and headache. Referrals are powerful, and they are quick and easy for prospects to check out.
Go through your customer list, and get those promoters writing referrals...and, as always, you want to give back as well. Be generous with the referrals you give out. If you're seeking out your best promoters, chances are that they deserve a referral too.
So, what's your Bacon LinkedIn Number? As you implement these tips you'll see your LinkedIn connections grow, as will your prospects...and the closer you'll be to this:
(2014, January 14) Haden, Jeff. 10 Ways to Generate More Leads and Referrals On LinkedIn. Inc.com. Retrieved on August 25, 2014 from http://www.inc.com/jeff-haden/10-ways-to-generate-more-leads-and-referrals-from-linkedin-tues.html
(2011, March 15) Hopkins, Jeanne. 3 Strategies to Get More Sales Leads With LinkedIn. Hubspot Inbound Hub. Retrieved on August 25, 2014 from http://blog.hubspot.com/blog/tabid/6307/bid/10943/3-Strategies-to-Get-More-Sales-Referrals-With-LinkedIn.aspx
(2014, June 20) R. Dustin. 5 Ways to Get Great Customer Referrals. LinkedIn. Retrived on August 25, 2014 from https://www.linkedin.com/today/post/article/20140620152938-260457-5-ways-to-get-great-customer-referrals
(2014, May 15) Hanson, Jean. Prospecting on LinkedIn: 3 Easy Steps to Finding Your Ideal Clients. Duct Tape Marketing. Retrieved on August 25, 2014 from http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2014/05/15/linkedin-finding-ideal-clients/
(2012, May 21) Jantsch, John. How and Why I Use LinkedIn Groups to Build My Business. Duct Tape Marketing. Retrived on August 25, 2014 from http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2012/05/21/how-and-why-i-use-linkedin-groups-to-build-my-business/
(2009, July 29) Jantsch, John. 5 Tips for Getting More from LinkedIn. Duct Tape Marketing. Retrieved on August 25, 2014 from http://www.ducttapemarketing.com/blog/2009/07/29/5-tips-for-getting-more-from-linkedin/
(2012, September 13) Testa, Jessica. 17 People With Surprising "Bacon Numbers." Buzzfeed. Retrieved on August 25, 2014 from http://www.buzzfeed.com/jtes/17-people-with-surprising-bacon-numbers#11g2lp
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