3 Strategies to Get More Sales Referrals With LinkedIn
Are you looking for new ways to get referrals from your best clients? Want to save time for both of you? Here are 3 strategies that you can use with LinkedIn to get more referrals.
To get more sales referrals with LinkedIn, try looking through your best client’s connections to see their connections, searching for your best client’s competitors, and leveraging their recommendations, plus asking your best clients what types of companies they think you should approach.
1) Looking through your best client’s connections to see their connections
Before the advent of social media, you’d go to the clients who loved you most and ask them if they knew anyone who might be interested in buying your product or service. This is always been a great sales technique, but it took time and it was an inconvenience for your best clients.
Worse yet, if all of those prospects called that client and ask for validation, your client would love you a little bit less after every call.
Here’s a new approach, using LinkedIn, that is much faster for you and much less intrusive for them:
• pick a client who loves you
• look at their LinkedIn profile
• a few inches below their name and picture, it will say Connections, followed by their number of connections, like “311 connections”
• click where it says “311 connections” You are now looking at their “online Rolodex” in LinkedIn. They know each of these people, and for each one you will typically see a title and company name. If that person looks like a potential prospect, you can begin to research their profile and possibly contact them.
For example, let’s assume that one client who loves me is Don Corleone. I have a dilemma. I want to call many of his friends, and use him as an honest referral, but I don’t want all of them calling him and bothering him to repeat the same information. It’s not a good idea to anger Don Corleone. Therefore, I want to have him write a recommendation once, and then let everybody read it online. I could ask Mr. Corleone for a LinkedIn recommendation and ask him to make a very clear and honest assessment about my product or service.
Here are my net results:
• I get to contact some legitimate prospects.
• I can initiate a conversation with the new prospect by saying that I am a friend of Don Corleone and that he loves my product or service.
• Don Corleone doesn’t waste his time answering the phone repetitively.
• I get to live Using this technique, you can probably get a lot more referrals in a lot less time, and keep your best friends.
That’s an offer you can’t refuse.
2) Search for your best client’s competitors, and leverage that recommendation
Before LinkedIn existed, you would go to competitors of your current clients and try to get their business because you knew they also need your product. For instance, if you sold insurance to Hewlett-Packard, you would also try to sell insurance to Dell Computer. If you are ready made a sale to Hewlett-Packard and could somehow prove that they liked it, it was much easier to make the sale to Dell.
Let’s see how this gets easier with LinkedIn.
You can use the advanced search capability in LinkedIn to find prospects at Dell that have the exact same title as the prospects that Hewlett-Packard. For instance, if you sold to the Director Of Human Resources at HP, then the Director Of Human Resources at Dell should be a great prospect.
To perform the search:
• From your home page, click Advanced Search in the upper right-hand corner
• Fill in the appropriate fields, including the company name, (Dell), and the title, (Director Of Human Resources)
• Fill in other fields is appropriate
• Click Search In the results list, you should be able to find the name of the appropriate person. Examine their profile to see if there is some way to contact them. If you have a mutual connection you might be able to use that to facilitate an introduction . If not, then with a little Google research you can probably find a phone number for the Director of HR at Dell.
Now you have to get past the gatekeeper. If you have a written recommendation from the Director Of HR at HP, this should be much easier. Of course, you want to be honest with your client at HP to let them know that you are doing this, but since this has always been a pretty standard process in sales they will hopefully be agreeable.
If you are selling insurance, you probably won’t have a problem. However, if you’re trying to sell them some advanced sales training that will give them a huge competitive advantage over their competitors, this will be much more difficult. But don’t worry about me. This isn’t the classical type of referral where you would get a person’s name, but it should accomplish the same goal.
3) Ask your best clients what types of companies they think you should approach.
Before LinkedIn existed, you probably asked current clients what other companies they thought could benefit from your product. Using the example above, you might be talking to your current client, the Director Of Human Resources at HP hopefully during a lunch or a ballgame (where you are picking up the tab).
Ask them what other types of companies might benefit from your product or service. In this case they might say
• any software company
• any network hardware manufacturer.
• any Internet marketing company.
• et cetera
Use Advanced Search in LinkedIn just as you did in the previous example except use the “Industries” category just to search with those that within those industries.
Advanced Search in LinkedIn has a lot of options to allow you to either refine your search or to broaden it to find more potential prospects. Again, this may not be your classical type of referral, but it should help you find good target prospects. Conclusion: LinkedIn can be used to implement a lot of “old school” ideas in “new school” ways. Hopefully, this blog entry will give you some new approaches in leveraging your current clients to help you find new ones. Go forth and prosper.
Bonus LinkedIn Tips:
• When you do an advanced search in LinkedIn, it usually tries to do an “exact match”.
Therefore, it would be a good idea to also try:
o Director Of HR
o Dir Of HR
o Director Of Human Resources
o Et cetera
• Instead of getting a written recommendation, get a recommendation on video make the video available on YouTube and show the client that video. This often looks much more genuine.
Hopefully, this blog post will give you some new approaches in leveraging your current clients to help you find new ones. Go forth and prosper.