Today I want to talk to you about the ultimate referral tool, a piece of technology that can help you with your referrals so that you’re not just doing them cold. And the ultimate referral tool ever is: LinkedIn!
I know some of you may not want to hear that, since LinkedIn takes a little bit of time to work on everyday, but I’m going to give you some steps so you can jump in and make LinkedIn work better for you.
I like to talk about the free stuff that is available because you can do a lot of damage for free on any of the social media platforms. But today let me talk first about a paid tool. You pay through Sales Navigator and the tool is called TeamLink. It targets or tags all the people who are openly willing to give you a referral from their network, or if you ask them will give you an introduction. There’s a monthly fee for the Sales Navigator — if generating leads and generating sales is your thing, I think it’s worth it but it can be cost prohibitive for some. You can try it free for 7 days and get a feel for it and see if you like it.
That’s the paid tool, now let’s talk about the free stuff!
- Aside from having everything complete on your profile, another thing you can do to help make LinkedIn work for you is have your elevator pitch or your “what’s in it for me” statement directly in your summary. It needs to be at the very top so that people see it immediately when they look at your profile. People forget that it’s not about you, it’s about them. And yes, you want to address your experience and that you have great referrals and recommendations from others, but you have to remind folks of what you bring to the table.
- This might sound silly, but be active. The more active you are the more likely you are to gain attention. Even job seekers, who are just regularly posting three times a week on their profile are 60 times more likely to be seen by recruiters that someone who doesn’t ever post at all. Your stats go up exponentially if you’re just active. What does active look like? It looks like at least three posts a week, Monday through Friday. Early mornings are great and you can schedule it.
Something else people forget about are groups. You want to be active in your group. It’s a great way to establish your expertise. If someone asks a question and you know the answer, answer the question! That way people can see and get a better feel for what you know.
- Next, connect in a genuine way. You’re going to get some spam, it happens. The more genuine you are, the more you come from a place of really wanting to help, or the more genuinely you ask for a referral, the more that comes across to people. I get spammy junk in my LinkedIn all the time but if it’s genuine I’ll help anybody. “Hey, I saw this article you posted” or “I see that you already know this person and this is what I do, can you introduce me?” — absolutely! If they’re really genuine when they reach out to me and I know it’s not a copy paste thing — and you can tell — then I’m absolutely happy to help. I love doing that stuff. Don’t be afraid to reach out to those people you know in a genuine way.
- Check out who your connections know. I’ve been in commission-based sales and it’s always startling to me how everybody seems to know somebody. It’s like Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon. I said this years ago to my last real boss, I should never have to work that hard for a referral again. I don’t mean don’t work hard, I mean somebody who I want to talk to should already know someone who I have spoken to. Reaching out for a referral through your network really makes it so much easier. “Let’s see, I want to reach out to Leanne but I don’t know her yet. But I see that she knows Genny and I know Genny pretty well.” It makes it easier to reach out and connect with that person if they already know someone you know. It’s all about who you know, and the easiest way to do that is to check out the connections you already have. Take a few minutes a day and poke through your connections and see who they know.
- Follow your prospects. If Genny is your target and you really want to talk to her, follow her on LinkedIn! Pay attention to what she’s posting. She will tell you what is important to her. If you come at her in a disingenuous way, she’s not going to want to connect with you. If you talk to her about referrals and you give her a referral, she’s going to be more likely to want to connect with you. It’s easy to find out what’s important to people if you just follow what they post.
- Consistency is key. LinkedIn is a marathon, not a sprint. I know you guys are busy and you’ve got a lot going on. So one of the best ways to streamline this is to schedule your posts so that they’re going out automatically and you don’t have to sit on them. That will take a lot of stress off your plate. I love scheduling, it’s the best thing ever. Then take 5 or 10 minutes a day — you can do this during commercial breaks while you’re watching TV — and pull out your phone and get on your app and go through alphabetically or by industry. Say you’re in Huntsville and you know your very next lead is going to be an engineer who’s going to be working at the Space Center, then go through and look at it by job. Take a look at people who work at the Space Center or engineers. However you decide to do it, spend a few minutes daily exploring your connections because it is so much easier to get a lead from someone who knows you than to send out a cold request for information.
This is why LinkedIn is the ultimate referral tool, because it bridges the gap between connections. I started my business on LinkedIn. When I first started, I used LinkedIn to reach out to other people, establish my expertise, and connect with people I wanted to be in business with. I was active in groups, I answered questions when I could, and I got on there every day. I was very diligent. It all comes down to attitude. I genuinely want to do the best job I can do and that means getting referrals from people I know. It’s that simple!