Whenever you hear about social networks, LinkedIn is usually not the first thing that comes to your mind or at least not as frequently as Facebook and Twitter do. The reason is pretty obvious as well. You don’t see things like the Grumpy Cat memes or celebrity gossip on LinkedIn. Its a much drier and serious place where careers are shaped and opportunities are explored.
But a lot of LinkedIn users, individuals and businesses alike, limit their LinkedIn usage to posting their profiles and sharing a few links.
I used to do the same until I experienced the real power of this awesome platform!
Tracking Buyer Info through LinkedIn – A Real Story!
It goes like this, I used to work for this online marketing & trading agency that connected traders across the globe and facilitated business deals. We started an experimental project to dig out genuine importer and buyer connections from across the globe and connect them individually with each of our suppliers, charging them a fixed commission amount on each closed deal.
The immediate challenge in front of us was the unavailability of buyer contact details. There were importer/buyer profiles everywhere on the internet, but none of them provided direct buyer contact details like the email address or phone numbers.
This is when I first found out the power of LinkedIn in developing new business opportunities and finding new clients.
The Simple Moves that Pay Big
Here’s what we did.
We searched on Google for buyers and importers for the relevant products that our suppliers were offering. Search terms like “Leather garments needed”, “wheat importers”, “american rice importers” gave us lists of companies who were looking for these products.
But as I mentioned before, there were no direct contact details!
We took the company names from those lists along with the representative name that was mentioned with each company.
This is where the real fun started……
First, we searched the company names on LinkedIn. Most of the times we would find the company profile through a simple search. Other times, we would further refine our search by adding the representative name in the search as well.
Kaboom!……8 out of 10 times we would get to the person we’re looking for.
Contact the Buyer through LinkedIn…..
The obvious choice for approaching the contact would either be a simple invitation or an Inmail. For a free LinkiedIn profile, Inmail allows you to approach up to 5 non connected users by direct email.
Do you know how much money that saved us?
An average trading platform giving out buyer information would charge you anything between $300 to $5000 for different levels of buyer/importer information access.
We did that for free through LinkedIn by using a few simple backtracking techniques.
What if doesn’t work?
At times, however, you won’t find the company on LinkedIn. This is where you can use the company representative name to track him through Facebook or Twitter (unless he’s from China).
Why don’t we just visit their website – A common sense query!
The world would be a much simpler place if every one of your clients had a website that would show up in search results instantly or, in some cases, even have a website.
Yes, a lot of them are not online yet with their websites.
And even if they are, the contact info mentioned on company websites doesn’t always go directly to the decision makers inbox.
Keep this as a secondary option.
How is this relevant to you?
In all probability, you must be thinking how this is relevant to you.
You’re not a trader, right? Well neither am I!
But this formula works for almost any industry. You can be a web development or design company looking for clients that pay big. You won’t find them on Elance…never!
You might be an SEO agency, a content marketing firm or a freelance writer hunting for businesses looking to enhance their online presence.
Or you may even be a local furniture showroom that wants to get in touch with companies operating in your area.
Whoever you are, LinkedIn is very relevant to all your business development, networking and marketing strategies.
You can tweak the simple strategy I shared with you and use it to your advantage. Your prospects are out there along with their contact details. You don’t need to pay any importer list, buyers directory or job board for contacts anymore.
A Long Term Strategy with Guaranteed Results – LinkedIn Groups
The backtracking technique usually delivers quick results and gets you in touch with the prospects directly. However, that doesn’t always guarantee a positive response from them. In fact, a big factor in getting positive results from LinkedIn is your reputation as a business or individual.
This is why you should work on a long term strategy in parallel.
Once you find the prospective clients that you’re looking to approach, have a good look at their profiles. List down the groups and forums that they have joined on LinkedIn and…….
Keep you objective very clear.You’re out there to make connections and establish credibility.
That will only happen when you demonstrate command over your field and offer smart solutions that capture the attention of other community members.
Set goals for yourself and determine the number of daily posts you’ll make in those groups.
This strategy is a proven success. It’s not a question of “If”, its a question of “When”.
Be consistent in your inputs and keep reminding people occasionally that you offer dedicated services for the problems being discussed.
Share Your Story
I know a lot of you might already have benefited from the options LinkedIn puts forward. Mine was a simple technique that not only saved thousands of dollars for my previous employers but also gave me a very effective marketing channel for my own business.
I’d love to hear how you made use of LinkedIn?
Note: Just in case you’re a business owner interested in using LinkedIn to the optimum level, check out my services page. I can help!