When I talk to business owners who don’t use LinkedIn to generate business, their initial reaction is usually that they haven’t had any success with it to date, and they don’t believe it will bring them the kind of clients they want to work with.
However, in my experience, only around 2% of business owners actually use LinkedIn the right way – the other 98% risk not engaging, or even alienating their prospective customers. In many cases, that’s because they’ve never been shown how to do it properly!
Over the years, I’ve perfected my LinkedIn technique, and I’m excited to share my 5 proven ways to generate business on LinkedIn with you.
1. Create a profile that speaks to your ideal client
Before you go any further, make sure your LinkedIn profile is appealing as possible – written with your ideal client in mind. Rather than simply focusing on your achievements and your career history, look at it from the perspective of your ideal client – show what you can do for them and how you can solve their problems.
One of my top tips is to look through each stage of your profile and ask yourself:
‘Would I hire myself if I were in their shoes?’
Start with a professional-quality headshot photo – you want to portray yourself as competent, experienced and professional. Create a captivating headline and summary in the ‘About’ section – your headline is the most crucial part of your profile along with your photo as it creates that all-important first impression.
Ensure that your experience section is credible – before anyone will hire you for your professional expertise, they will want to see what you have done to justify their choice. Focus on your most recent and relevant experience and take the opportunity to include appropriate keywords relating to your expertise.
Showcase your skills – now is the time to tell your ideal client about your specialisms! Then ask for endorsements from people with whom you have good relationships, who are highly skilled within your field and have first-hand experience of your capabilities – go for quality rather than quantity.
Finally, ask for (and give) recommendations –. If you can get 2-3 video testimonials from clients, even better – include them in the Featured section at the top of your profile as this can help boost your credibility and visibility. These provide great social proof and can often be a deciding factor in whether a prospect will reach out to you – ultimately helping you to generate business on LinkedIn.
2. Boost your discoverability
To boost your discoverability, I suggest that you customise your LinkedIn URL. If you check out my LinkedIn profile, you’ll see that mine is https://www.linkedin.com/in/nickbagga/ – much more memorable than the default combination of your name and a string of random numbers.
I’d also advise renaming your profile photo file with your name and primary keyword/title, and then re-uploading – for example, mine is ‘nickbagga-marketingconsultant.jpg’.
These simple changes only take a few minutes and will help your LinkedIn profile to score more highly in search results, improving your SEO ranking.
It’s also vital to ensure that you use powerful keywords in your Headline, ‘About’ section and experience – keywords that your ideal clients are likely to search for.
I was reminded of this recently when I was contacted by a prospective client who found me organically via Google Search – thanks to both my LinkedIn profile and website being optimised for my keywords. We had a call, and they are now my client – proof that getting your profile right can help you generate business on LinkedIn.
3. Establish your credibility
Once you’ve set up your profile, you need to start interacting. If you don’t share anything on LinkedIn, your profile will go unnoticed. Failing to interact with prospective clients and connections is a common reason why so many business owners don’t see results.
Whenever you post content on LinkedIn, ask yourself – ‘How does this add value to my ideal client’? If your connections are encouraged to click on your LinkedIn profile, they may be positively surprised to see you giving away free information, advice, and expert opinion. It immediately shows that you are a valuable resource.
Spend some time figuring out what it is that makes you unique and sets you apart from the competition. This could be your results, your experience, a certain event or even your personality. People are far more likely to remember you if you are unique, so don’t be afraid to do something a little different.
Aim to create content that inspires discussion, debate, and conversation. This will help you to be seen as a reliable, trustworthy voice, and make you the first port of call when prospects are looking for someone in your industry. Taking the time to establish your credibility and be seen as a thought leader can be a great way to generate business on LinkedIn.
4. Build a targeted network
I firmly believe that a targeted, credible, specific network of LinkedIn connections is much better than connecting with too many people, which can make you appear spammy or unprofessional.
By identifying your ideal client profile, it’s much easier to locate the people you want to work with using Linkedin searches, as you can be very specific about the terms used using advanced techniques such as Boolean Search. You may have more than one ideal client profile if you work across different sectors, so it’s good to target each with a specific search.
You should ALWAYS add a personalised note with your connection request – to help you with this, I’ve created a range of messaging scripts as part of my Complete LinkedIn Mastery course, including 8 different templates that you can personalise to use for your connection request.
I suggest that you identify 20-30 prospects to connect with on a daily basis – spend a few minutes looking at each profile to find people who fit your ideal client profile, particularly where you can identify a need that you can help with. That way you are much more likely to connect with people you will enjoy working with, and who will become a long-term, profitable source of business on LinkedIn.
5. Nurture your connections
Once you are connected, start by messaging within a couple of days to welcome your new connection to your network. It’s a great way to get the conversation going and to let them know you’re there to help and will be giving them value as you build your relationship.
At this stage, you are NOT trying to sell or pitch. Look for clues in their LinkedIn Profile to work out what to include in the message. It’s a good opportunity to offer them something free, such as a download or other resource, to make them feel good about being connected to you.
It’s then important to build and nurture the relationship with your LinkedIn connections over time by CONVERSING with them using the guidelines in my ‘4C Method’ – engaging with your prospects and providing value to build the relationship.
Eventually, when the time is right – and you’ll know from the type of messages you’ve been exchanging – you should aim to move the conversation offline, whether it’s a phone call, a face to face meeting or a video call. I’ve always done it by giving value, for example by offering consultation or a strategy call to try and close the lead into a client.
When you’ve invited them to take the conversation offline, leave it with them – don’t put any pressure on them to jump on a call. I’ve tested this approach – trust me, it’s the best way to take things forward when you have a relationship, and the way you are most likely to generate business on LinkedIn.
When it comes to generating business on LinkedIn, it’s definitely best to use a proven approach to see results – and to use that approach consistently.
If you’re interested in being part of the 2% of LinkedIn users who are getting the most out of the platform, I’d love to hear from you – please feel free to send me a personalised connection request if we’re not already connected, DM me on LinkedIn or email me at [email protected]