The question we’re going to answer today is this: How do I gain business with LinkedIn? Obviously, our blog is mostly for entrepreneurs and sales professionals, so it might be a bit different if you work for a large company. But the first thing to think about before we answer that question is what LinkedIn really is. At its core, LinkedIn represents an online networking opportunity. Many people in the small business community already network offline at a Chamber of Commerce and through networking events. Or maybe you’ve networked socially in a country club, bar, church, whatever. The point is that LinkedIn is just a different way to network.
We actually train and coach people on how to network in general, but all the skills/resources you need to be a networking pro are transferrable from an offline platform to an online one. And really, the goal of any networking event, whether it’s online through LinkedIn or offline, is to build a mutually beneficial relationship with somebody else. So here are three things to think about:
1. Connect with people that you could help or that you could build a mutually beneficial relationship with. This might be your ideal client, as your products or services can solve their needs. It might be someone in your industry who could be a good referral source for you and vice versa. It might be a potential vendor that can help you grow your sales. It’s also good to connect with those who are a good cultural fit for you as well.
2. Once you’re connected with someone on LinkedIn, engage and add value. Is there something valuable you can share with them, such as an article you wrote? Or can you invite them to an event that’d be helpful? One thing I’ve realized is a lot of times directly messaging someone on LinkedIn is the way to go. Posts are great, content is great, but just reaching out to someone directly is best. So don’t forget about that function on LinkedIn.
3. Once you’ve added value, then invite to connect with them one-on-one in a larger capacity. Nobody buys right on LinkedIn. Business referrals usually aren’t passed directly through LinkedIn. Deals are made through relationships that are built outside of LinkedIn and LinkedIn merely serves as a platform that helps connect more people together. If you’ve never networked with someone or had a conversation with them outside of LinkedIn (either in person, virtually with Zoom, or through a phone call), it’s going to be really hard for them to buy your services and refer you business. Plus, it’ll be tough for you to refer them business because you aren’t familiar enough with what they offer.
Remember, your goal on LinkedIn as a small business owner is to connect with people outside of LinkedIn, even for a short 20-minute conversation. So take action, make it happen, and have a better than amazing day!