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Contrary to popular belief, money does grow on trees…referral trees. Whether your business is just starting out or has withstood the test of time, referrals are always a good thing for business. LinkedIn can help you build and nurture prospects and common networking and referral problems can be avoided using the platform. Whether you consider yourself at the introductory, moderate or advanced level, there are steps you can be taking to get those referral trees to really blossom.
You can’t begin to engage with business prospects without a complete and compelling LinkedIn profile. Start by creating an engaging headline rich with relevant keywords. LinkedIn by default posts your current job position in that area, but if that’s listed in another part of your profile, why not use the space to give them different information? If a user is doing a LinkedIn search, this is the only other item they will see besides your name, so use a description that will draw them in. Next, an accurate summary is needed. It should tell the viewer exactly what you do, what client services you provide and what your point of difference is. Continue to fill out your profile with keywords until you’ve received 100% profile completeness.
LinkedIn Answers and Groups are frequently overlooked by users, but are a valuable tool to get found on the world’s largest professional network. Groups and Answers allow you to showcase your expertise. Join groups relevant to your industry, relevant to your clients’ industries and ones that targeted prospects are using. Start your own discussions and don’t forget to join in on others. It’s an effective way to help you find potential business opportunities and help prospects find you. See what questions your targeted prospects are asking in Answers. Get in front of them by providing the specific information they are looking for. Don’t get flustered if nothing comes of it right away, turning Answers into leads is a long-term strategy.
The advanced search feature allows you to identify the ways in which you can connect with targeted prospects. Let’s say your business will only prosper by talking to CEOs within a certain area. Use the advanced search to find out who those CEOs are and filter it by your second connections. If you find someone who would make a good client, ask your shared connection for an introduction. If they have a good relationship with them, it’s a less invasive way to get connected. Not sure who would be an appropriate contact to target at a company? Advanced search is great for that too. Simply search for the company and your second connections within that company. Use your shared connection to get introduced or take a different approach by monitoring and participating in the LinkedIn tools they use. This gives them the opportunity to come to you.
By following any of the tips recommended above your referral trees will be blossoming year around, which is essential whether your business is just starting out or is a pillar in its industry. Soon you too will be able to contradict the consensus and say money does grow on trees.