LinkedIn is the ultimate referral tool. In the last job I had before I started my own business, my boss wanted me to make a bunch of cold calls. My response, and I don’t think he took it the way I meant it, was that I never want to work that hard again. What I really meant is that there is no reason to ever make cold calls. Everyone knows everyone and there’s no reason for you to reach out to someone cold.
That’s what referrals are all about. You find out who knows who and you get an introduction. That’s the easiest thing in the world to do. So, when I say I never want to work that hard again, I mean that cold calls are the worst. No one wants to be the recipient of a cold call. It’s super awkward and for a lot of people, it’s so stressful that they just can’t do it. Instead, get an introduction from someone they already know and make it better for the both of you.
You need to use LinkedIn as a referral tool. It works whether you’re job hunting, looking for client leads, connecting with other vendors, or networking with colleagues. It works across the board. If you are looking for a job right now, you can always opt for the paid version but, because I like my tips to be free, today we are focusing on the free version of LinkedIn.
Include Your Elevator Speech in Your LinkedIn Summary
So, what is that? It’s where you tell people what’s in it for them. It needs to be at the very beginning of your summary because when people look you up it’s the very first thing they see. It’s critical that it makes sense. Remember, it needs to make sense to everyone, not just to you.
This is a very common mistake. People will put information like “helping your business think outside the box.” What does that mean? Are you an employment agency? A business coach? An accountant? Who knows? So you can see how important it is that you be specific and very clear.
For instance, our first line is “Most businesses struggle with social media. We provide custom services that keep you from wasting time and feeling overwhelmed.” Social media is what we do and it’s right there at the beginning. There is no confusion about what we offer. Put your elevator speech at the beginning of your summary so people aren’t confused about who they’re connecting with.
Be Active on LinkedIn
Ideally, you want to post on your LinkedIn profile at least 3 times per week. 5 times is better. You also want to post on groups and business pages as well. Consistency is your friend. You’re much more likely to be seen and engaged with if you’re posting on the regular. We’re talking about potential clients, sales, and leads. When they see you all the time they get used to you so that when you do have an offer they’re much more likely to engage. When you are constantly educating, informing, and entertaining and you’re putting that information in, it’s much easier to get something out of the platform. You need to serve about 80% of the time to effectively sell 20% of the time. It’s critically important that you engage with valuable information. It gets you in front of people.
Connect on LinkedIn In A Genuine Way
This should go without saying but it happens all the time. You get these sales emails. You know they’re sales emails. You know it’s a template. You know the person sending it out doesn’t care if you respond or not. They’re just trying to get out as many emails as possible. Don’t be that person. Connect in a genuine way.
If I wanted to connect with a certain person that I didn’t know, first I’d look and see who we are both connected with. When I find that person I might send them a note asking them to arrange an introduction. They can then send a message to both of us on LinkedIn endorsing me and that way it’s a very warm introduction. It’s so much better than just blankly reaching out to someone.
Check Out Your Own Connections
Look at who you are already connected with. You may be surprised at who they are connected to. Sometimes if I want to know someone in a different geographical area, I will look at my own connections from that same area and see who they’re connected to. If they already know the person I’m trying to connect to then I can ask for the introduction.
Use the People Search Tool on LinkedIn
The people search tool on LinkedIn is the coolest search tool ever on any of the platforms. It’s just so comprehensive. You can search by industry, location, keywords in their summary, and more. Let’s say I’m prospecting for leads, or even looking for a job, I can go in and look for any job title I want to. I can search for HR, human resources, hiring manager, etc. I can also specify by industry. So, I can search for human resources in the medical field who lives in Atlanta and is either my first or second connection. Everyone who is connected to someone I know will pull up. If I find an awesome lead I can reach out to the person we are both connected to and ask for the introduction. The people search tool makes it so easy to connect.
The most underused feature of the People Search Tool that many people don’t seem to know about is “connections of.” You go to search and open up people then click the advanced features. There is a little hidden gem there called “connections of”. This tool allows you to look at someone else’s connections so you can then connect with them. If you’re a member of a group and are connected to someone in that group, you can look at all their connections to see if you know any of them and want to connect.
Don’t let our current situation keep you from networking and making connections. LinkedIn is the perfect tool for these unprecedented times.