I get nearly all of my business from LinkedIn. I figure since others have helped me learn to use LinkedIn for free, I’ll skip charging for a seminar and give you the “insider secrets” that others have taught me.
The more results I get, the less spammy and ad-like my interactions with LinkedIn are. That’s right. Less spam equals more results. Shocking, isn’t it?
Here’s how I do it (and you can do it too):
Treat LinkedIn as a networking venue. I try to focus on connecting with people and making new friends. I’d rather have 100 friends telling their 13,000 friends about me than advertise to 100 people who don’t care.
Put the sales pitch where it belongs. A while back Flyn Penoyer, a sales consultant and LinkedIn über-user, suggested that I change up my profile to make it into a call to action. That way I could just participate and ENJOY the conversation and people interested in my business will read my profile and get the sales pitch. Flyn’s idea worked incredibly well (so well, I blogged about it here). More people read my profile, and I don’t have to be constantly talking up what I do.
It’s really hard for many vendors to understand that the natural conclusion of most conversations does not involve their products or services. I avoid mentioning my company’s products or services unless there is a direct question about them, an invitation to introduce myself and my company or where industry knowledge is badly needed in a conversation (this has happened one time in the last year).
Participate and Have Fun. Follow your interests, join groups, ask questions, and discuss what you like. As you do, your twork will grow and with it, visits to your profile will grow… and if you’ve got your profile right, people will start visiting your website and sending you LinkedIn messages asking if you can help them.