LinkedIn is the world’s best online business networking platform with over 65,000,000 professionals using it and the average user being 41 years old and earning $109,000 per year. Not a bad demographic for doing business with. As the world is getting smaller, the number of professionals using LinkedIn is getting bigger. Unlike a number of other networking sites, this is not an electronic bathroom wall. Professionals who use LinkedIn most effectively realize that LinkedIn is a Social Media platform but in reality it’s really a database. It is a database in the most literal meaning of the word. You can strategically search through LinkedIn and identify people and organizations that you want to sell to, create alliances with, hire, refer business to, network with, and add value to as a professional.
One of the most attractive features of LinkedIn is the merging of the users’ contacts. We’re all familiar with the concept of six degrees of separation. I always say that here in Colorado Springs its 1.5 degrees of separation. LinkedIn makes visible what currently exists but was previously invisible. Translation: you are already connected to many, many people through mutual connections that you’re unaware of. LinkedIn makes this visible.
In regards to using LinkedIn as a business development or lead generation tool, I’m not saying that the days of smiling and dialing, getting past the gatekeeper, building rapport and oh my, did you catch that fish on the wall are going to go away 100%. But if you can gain access to someone through a mutual connection, I’d take that every day, all day and twice on Tuesday. LinkedIn makes visible the hidden connections that people have but were unaware of. All things being equal, people do business with and refer business to people they like, know and trust. Using LinkedIn effectively increases the “like, know, trust factor” very quickly.
If you’re not using LinkedIn, you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. I can pretty much guarantee you that your competitors are. People are busy and if they can look at your LinkedIn profile and determine that you are credible and that you represent yourself and your organization well, that saves the person a lot of time in doing their due diligence. The reverse is also true. You can do market research, monitor the competition, and find viable business rapidly.
If we’re not already connected as 1st Tier Connections on LinkedIn, feel free to send me an invitation to connect at www.linkedin.com/in/kevinknebl. Because I have over 16,000,000 LinkedIn connections, when I accept your invitation request over 2,000,000 people will be added to your connections at the speed of light…literally. As you use LinkedIn more and more, you’ll realize that this is the equivalent of fishing in a heavily stocked lake versus fishing in an empty pond. Happy fishing!