Interest in LinkedIn from lawyers, accountants and other professionals has taken off recently. And it makes a lot of sense. Despite the hype over Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn offers the greatest opportunity for professionals to make connections that lead to winning new business.
Unfortunately, many professionals fail to use LinkedIn to it’s full potential. Their profile is either non-existent, or not attractive to potential clients. And they don’t use it’s great ability to form new, valuable connections.
Here are the top 10 tips for using LinkedIn to get clients and win new business.
1. Make your profile client focused
The first thing people do when they join LinkedIn is to create a profile. And since LinkedIn has slots for your previous job roles, qualifications, etc. there’s an almost overwhelming temptation to make your profile look like your CV.
Resist that temptation.
When you first meet potential clients you don’t rattle off a huge list of companies you’ve worked for and the responsibilities you’ve had – that would bore the pants off them. Most effective introductions focus on who you help, and what problems you help them solve or results you help them achieve. Then if asked more, you say a bit more about what you do – and give a little “backstory” as to why you are uniquely qualified to help.
LinkedIn is for making connections – and for the majority of professionals that means clients and business partners, not recruiters.
You need to design your profile to have the impact you want on those connections. Treat it like your introduction at a networking meeting.
Despite the ease of just uploading your CV details, most potential clients and business partners won’t get value from seeing the details of your previous roles. Job titles, main achievements and company names can help give you credibility (and make it easier for others to find you) – but don’t include all the details you would on a job application.
2. Get connecting – but…
LinkedIn works on connections. The most powerful use of LinkedIn is to find new clients and business partners through the search function or directly via your contacts connections. The more direct connections you have, the more opportunities you have to connect. I still see people who’ve made all the effort to set Avatrade Linkedin Page up their LinkedIn profile – but who have so few connections that they don’t get any benefit.
The LinkedIn toolbar for Outlook provides an easy way of inviting the your Outlook contacts and people you email regularly to connect with you.
However, there’s a catch…
3…Choose your connection strategy carefully
There are two very different strategies to connecting on LinkedIn: “Open Networking” and “Trusted Partner Networking”.
In business networking generally, the value you get from your network is a product of the size of your network, and your ability to “convert” connections into productive business (work, a referral, etc.). You can grow the value of your network by getting more connections, or deepening the strength of each connection (getting to know people better, helping them out, etc.)
On LinkedIn, one strategy for getting value is to be an “Open Networker” or LION (LinkedIn Open Networker). Open Networkers focus on growing the size of their network by initiating and accepting connection requests from as many people as possible. Open Networkers typically have many thousands of connections. This means that when they search for useful relationships (potential clients or business partners), for example looking for contacts in specific companies, or geographies or with specific interests or job titles – they are much more likely to find them (exponentially more likely because of the way LinkedIn connections work).