Use LinkedIn to Generate Sales Leads.
By Josiah Mackenzie
Wednesday, 10th November 2010
Sarah asked, 'How do you recommend best using LinkedIn to generate sales leads?'

Great question: Sarah is General Manager of a hotel focused on reaching business travelers, so I'd like to share a few general thoughts – and then some ideas for landing the corporate contracts that would be valuable to her.

Be easy to connect with

LinkedIn is a little more closed than other social networks. You often need the email address of the person you're connecting with to verify that you know them.

I get around this by including my email address and phone number in the tagline of my profile – so anyone can reach out and connect with me:

Use descriptive website links

Instead of using the generic "My Website" text, customize your site links with descriptive titles:

Perhaps you might even consider creating a special landing page with a special offer for LinkedIn referrals.

Share a clear benefit statement

After quickly glancing at your profile, a person should be able to tell what you can offer to help them.

How clear is your unique selling proposition?

Make giving (and getting) recommendations a priority

These testimonials could help you close the deal. To get recommendations, start by giving them to other professionals you endorse. (Chris Brogan has some good tips on this.)

This is one of the top things you can do to enhance your LinkedIn profile.

Include your blog posts

If you see the value of selling through education – and are doing this through your blog – then this is the logical next step. I use a WordPress plugin to include recent entries:

Find, connect with, serve decision makers

This is the top benefit of LinkedIn. You can search by industry, job title, etc.

It might be worthwhile to upgrade your account so you can search through more people. (LinkedIn places limits on the free accounts.)

LinkedIn provides some good education on advanced search query features.

Create a company profile (if needed)

Mashable has a good basic overview of the process, so rather than repeating that here, just read this.

Create a LinkedIn group

This can be a great way to have high-end decision makers reach out to you.

Some tips from Social Media Examiner:
  • Add keywords in the description of your group to increase your search rankings on LinkedIn's search section.
  • Add keywords in the title of the group to be found on Google.
  • Add your company website or blog to the group to drive traffic to your site.
  • Add your blog RSS feed to the group so every new article is automatically posted to the home page of every group member.
  • Send a weekly message that adds value for group members and drives traffic back to your site.
  • Connect people in the group by making introductions to those who could potentially do business with one another.
Host (and promote) events

Depending on your business, events could be a good way to bring all the decision makers in one place and present your offer.

LinkedIn offers some good event promotion tools to publicize the event.

Answer questions

Providing LinkedIn Answers to questions people raise is a good way to sell through education.

I'd recommend setting aside a little time each week to go through questions relevant to your business, and answering a few in a way that positions yourself as an expert.

You can also follow new questions through your RSS newsreader, and this is a good way to be aware of issues as they are raised.

Experiment with LinkedIn ads

LinkedIn DirectAds offer the premise of delivering targeted advertising to the demographics you want to reach.You can pay per click or by impression.

I've heard mixed results from this – it's very effective for some companies, not so good for others. So test it for yourself to see the results.

Let us know in the comments: How are you using LinkedIn to generate sales leads?

P.S. Have we connected on LinkedIn yet? www.linkedin.com/in/josiahmackenzie


About the author
This blog is written by Josiah Mackenzie, who enjoys exploring the relationship between emerging technology and the hospitality industry. 


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