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Leslie Groene Website Homepage October 2015, Vol. 124

Making the Most of LinkedIn for Networking & Social Selling

Have you looked at your LinkedIn profile lately? Did you know that your LI home page is like your own personal business journal?

I asked my colleague Lynne Gullo, who coaches people on how to set up their LI profile, to provide a few tips as a refresher on how important LinkedIn is to all business professionals.

It's important for both you as an individual and everyone in sales and marketing who represents your company to have a complete profile.

Basic profile tips:

1.     Profile Picture: Business-like, smiling, current and in focus. No pets, kids, obvious selfies, stray hands on shoulders and above all, don't use the default blank head! You don't need a professional photographer, but make sure you are presenting yourself in a positive light.

2.     Your Title: LinkedIn will default to your job title, but don't make this rookie mistake. This is a searchable field and you want people to find you. Add three specialties to your title. This is especially important if you have the same title as others in your company.

For example, don't just list your title as Account Executive at Blank Company. I will have no idea what you do! Try Account Executive at Blank Company specializing in whatever vertical industry or company type you're looking for.

Summary: This is your elevator speech. How would you enthusiastically describe what you do for a living to your friends? This is another searchable field. Make sure you include key skills and expertise even though you are repeating them in other parts of your profile. You can even list your key specialties with bullet points. Your profile represents YOU as a brand, so don't just copy your company mission statement here.

3.     Your contact information: Make sure your information is current so your connections know how to contact you. Include your company website.

Before and after a business meeting:

1.     Look up the company page and find out any current news.

2.     Look at the upper right corner of the company page to see "How You're Connected" to their employees.

3.     Review the profiles of the people you will be meeting with to see what you have in common.

4.     Ask to connect with anyone you get a business card from.

5.     Follow that company.

Your Home Page:

1.     Periodically provide an interesting update about YOU. Tell a success story, brag a little, but don't make this a sales pitch. Share an interesting article you've read to your LinkedIn page.

2.     Read your Home page daily and like, comment or share. Just a few minutes a day will give you a wealth of information about your connections and industry.

3.     Congratulate your connections on their anniversaries and job changes.

LinkedIn is the ultimate Business Directory. LI offers an unequaled and FREE way to promote yourself, your brand and your company. Take a few minutes to make sure you are making the most of this valuable social business platform.

Focus Point
53. The power of word-of-mouth referrals.
Call us "old school," but both of us absolutely believe that this form of advertising and promotion is the most effective. The best way to describe word-of-mouth referrals from trusted and satisfied clients is "golden!"

No matter what the profession or industry, a word-of-mouth referral usually will get you the business. This is why our approach to writing this book is to lay a strong foundation for you. We advocate a systematic approach to how you render your services. We advise you to be attentive to details and to begin to anticipate your clients' needs to better serve them. We believe it is more important for you to take a longterm view of your profession or industry - remember that advice about "a marathon, not a sprint." Take the time to "get it right," don't rush out and mismanage your initial clients and end up failing to serve them.

Think of this in terms of creating a pyramid. (No, not a pyramid scam or Ponzi scheme!) Our pyramid begins with our first client. It might have many peaks that represent subsequent clients as well. But our ability to build upon these peaks depends on how well we've satisfied the clients we're building upon. When they're totally satisfied, they usually become exuberant in assessing our services or products. Sometimes they ask us if we would mind them referring us to other potential clients - their friends!

Once, Tom dealt with Pat Cronin, a building contractor. Mr. Cronin, a true craftsman, treated his clients' homes with reverence. When he finished a remodeling job, he would review his work with the client, explaining the thought process behind the improvement (the "why" behind the work). When Tom reviewed the remodel work with Mr. Cronin, he was impressed not only with the final outcome but with all the thought and care that went into it.

As a result, Mr. Cronin worked with many of Tom's relatives and friends and they always thanked Tom for thinking enough of them to send Pat to them!

When exceptional professionals in sales or other fields give their clients exceptional service, the outcome can be incredible over time. Literally, such excellence can set into motion a tidal wave of referrals and positive goodwill for the fortunate firm that employs the "superstar" professional.

Enough said? Take the long view and work your tail off for every client. Of course, don't overextend and end up giving poor service to anyone. If you can't do the work, don't sign the client, because you can imagine the inverse of the examples above!