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Aug 7, 2015
Jack Neu

I am a strong believer in using LinkedIn as a tool to build business relationships, and utilizing your connections to meet the people who can help move your business or product forward.   Below are some tips that can help you and your company move past using LinkedIn as a job search or recruitment tool, and start using it as a way to prospect smarter and connect faster to the right people.

  1. First, don’t request to connect with others just to try and sell them a product or to use your company or service.  Attract them to your profile by positioning yourself as an industry expert.  Make sure your activity on LinkedIn is current.  Frequently share articles that are industry related, share great updates from your clients, link to your company’s blog posts, etc.
  2. Have a prospect that’s just not returning your phone calls or won’t see you?  Check their LinkedIn profile and see what connections you have in common with that person.  This way you can name drop on your next call, or ask a common connection to introduce you.
  3. Join relevant groups & participate.  Groups or Associations are a great place to start, and their discussion boards are great places to post content, ask questions, and receive valuable feedback from your prospects.
  4. Utilize the e-mail you get every day from Linked In that identifies job changes for your connections.  A satisfied customer at a new company opens up the door to you for new opportunities, and lets you know you have to renew or foster other contacts at the old company so someone doesn’t replace you as the “go to” vendor.
  5. Use the Advanced Search tab to create a prospect list of decision makers.  Say you want to sell your product or services to colleges and universities in the Cincinnati area, and the decision maker would be the Marketing Director. Go to the Advanced tab (next to the blue magnifying glass on your LinkedIn home page) and check 2nd degree connections, check higher education under Industry, then in the left bar enter Marketing Director in the title field, select a Cincinnati zip code with a large radius around it and click Search .  Voila!  A custom list of Higher Education Marketing Directors in Cincinnati.  And by checking 2nd degree connections, only those with whom you have a shared connection will show, meaning you can ask for an introduction or recommendation.  After you get your search structured the way you want you can save it and run it frequently to see if anyone new shows up or connections have changed jobs you might have missed (see below).
Image is a screenshot of author's actual use of LinkedIn.com

Image is a screenshot of author’s actual use of LinkedIn.com

Image is a screenshot of author's actual use of LinkedIn.com

Image is a screenshot of author’s actual use of LinkedIn.com

These are activities I do daily (5 minutes or so) or weekly (10 minutes) and it helps to keep my network, connections, and business opportunities up to date, all using a resource you already have access to and are familiar with.