I did an exercise today with a view to really focusing my LinkedIn® activity.
I firstly classified each and every one of my 900+ connections into different categories such as friends, clients, classmates, networking contacts and so on. I then noted which of them I genuinely know well enough to contact by phone or email. What I found surprised me somewhat. 57% of my contacts are well known to me and the rest are a balance of those that have connected with me through groups, following events, via posts and so on.
What does the exercise tell me?
It probably tells me a number of things and I would welcome input from LinkedIn® aficionados to add to the discussion. At its most basic, it tells me that:
1. I have a fantastic resource of over 500 contacts with whom I am engaged and that I know well enough to ask for intros to people on their contact list. That is a great lead generation opportunity (assuming of course that I’m offering something of genuine relevance and value). That same resource is available for me to ask for help on all manner of topics.
2. I have an opportunity to connect and become more engaged with the other 450 or so. I can choose to get closer to them or I can possibly prune them.
LinkedIn® is a social business tool and there is a strong argument that it is the power of networking (which should not be remote) that supports business growth through recommendations, testimonials, introductions and so on. People that don’t know you won’t genuinely recommend you (aside from those that just recommend anyone when the recommendation box pops up!).
LinkedIn® allows me to send messages to everyone in my list or to individual categories within my groupings above. I can filter by location, sector, company and more. I can of course export the file and this gives me an email database to work with subject, of course, to not spamming.
LinkedIn® is a powerful business generation tool and I certainly haven’t used it anywhere near to its full value thus far. It has the potential to support lead generation not through a callous exploitation of your connections but through engagement. Through this connection your connections can become advocates and introducers to the people with whom you’d like to do business. Then get on the phone and speak to them to solidify the relationship further and to see what you can also do to support them in return. After all, it’s a two-way street!
So, make LinkedIn® one of the key things on your to do list for your lead generation activities.
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