LinkedIn Makes Cents

I asked Lisa Michaud, an expert in social media, to give us her perspective on how LinkedIn can help your financial institution. I think you’ll be interested in her advice: 

LinkedIn has long been an established social media channel designed primarily for people who are networking within the business world. But how can a banker really begin to take advantage of this style of online networking? Many of the bankers I have spoken to have told me they just do not have time to be on LinkedIn. So after years as a sales professional, the first question out of my mouth is of course “You don’t have time to prospect?”

The magic behind LinkedIn is that it can actually save you time if done correctly and with the right goals in mind. There are three goals I like to emphasize when training others on how to effectively use LinkedIn:

  1. Establish yourself as an expert – By regularly posting valuable articles, updates about your industry, events you are attending and exciting moments throughout your day, you are effectively letting everyone within your network know that you are staying on top of your industry. According to most sales trainers, one of the top reasons a person will buy from another person is that they are knowledgeable about their industry and the application to their prospects’ challenges and concerns. Studies actually show that you can have very little knowledge about the prospect’s needs, but if you really know your industry, buyers will actually find some pain to solve that is relevant to them. LinkedIn is a great way to keep hundreds of people up to date about your knowledge, positioning you as an expert and the go-to person for any questions about your industry.
  2. Prospect within your network – While I certainly love the idea of calling up random strangers to try to get business (can you hear my sarcasm), telemarketing is really a dying art. One incredible way to use LinkedIn to prospect is to get introduced to people through people you already know. One of my favorite activities in sales was to look at my daily calendar, examine LinkedIn profiles of people I would be meeting and identify five people within their LinkedIn contacts that I really wanted to meet. This technique of getting introduced to new people worked about ten times more often than any cold call I ever made. I always had a running top ten of people I really wanted to meet to discuss their pain and my solutions.
  3. Build rapport with your prospect – The cornerstone to really meeting and closing a qualified buyer in your marketplace is to know who you are talking to before you ever sit down to meet. LinkedIn can provide an amazing amount of information to begin to build rapport the second you pick up the phone to set an appointment. View profiles to glean information that you may have in common with your prospect then organically interject it into your call. Do you share an alma mater, a past workplace, or a specific hobby or interest? People love to work with people who they believe are similar in nature, regardless of what you actually sell.

Now the uses of LinkedIn are immense so these are just a few of the goals around a solid LinkedIn strategy. Anyone who truly is dedicated to producing revenue for their banking institution should embrace this online rolodex of information. With just a little consistency and a few new research habits, amazing bottom line results can be had!

Lisa Michaud is President of The Startup Launcher, which helps businesses build a social media presence through set up programs, training and community management services. She can be reached at lisa@actuatesocial.com and www.actuatesocial.com.

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