It was once again reinforced to me, this week, how few business people really know how to use LinkedIn.
Even for those who tell me they visit the networking site regularly, I’m am commonly finding that some of its most valuable features are still unknown to them. That’s normal, of course, as no one has shown them how to use it!
If that talks to you, perhaps, when you recognise the potential sales opportunities vested in just knowing how to search prospects on LinkedIn, you’ll ask yourself “do I really know how to use LinkedIn?”.
Lets take a look at just one powerful LinkedIn utility: Advanced People Search.
If you would benefit from at least one new client in your business, this area is for you.
Whilst you will require a paid subscription to take advantage of some of the filtering I shall refer to, everyone can use the advanced search function (even those with free memberships), to find their perfect client.
First you’ll need to be very specific about what your perfect client looks like.
How do you define your prospect? You’ll need to be more specific than the answer I usually hear, to this question, where people tell me everyone can benefit from the service or product they provide. Even when asking for referrals from others, this is simply too broad to invoke a useful result.
What is your preferred industry sector or vertical?
What is the preferred size of company/firm or organisation that you like to work with? Clearly they need to be of a size that paying your invoice shouldn’t be a stretch! When I probe this question, most people give me a turnover value, but, of course, since no companies on LinkedIn are giving us financial information, this important indicator can be replaced by the number of employees.
What is your preferred geographic location?
What is the title of the person you need to be speaking to who is empowered to make the buying decision?
When you know this, using the Advanced People Search can really work for you.
Simply select the ‘people’ drop down (this is the default setting in the search box on the right-hand side of the top navigation bar on LinkedIn) and click on the small word ‘Advanced’ that sits next to it.
Using the standard Boolean searching techniques that you would use when searching on Google or elsewhere on the internet, pop the employee title in the ‘Title’ box, set the ‘Location’, ‘Country’, ‘Postal Code’ and distance radius ‘Within‘.
Then select the relevant tick boxes from within ‘Industries’ and ‘Company size’…and hit the blue ‘Search’ button.
Remember to be patient with yourself if you don’t get the results you expect with your first try. Searching takes a bit of practice and setting the parameters can take some trial and error.
On the right hand side, just above the returns, you’ll see ‘Sort By – Relevance’. Take a look! This will enable you to filter the results by relationship to you (connection level 1, 2 or 3) Relationship and recommendations, by number of connections or the keywords you have selected.
Next to it you’ll see ‘view’ which will enable you to set the range of information you want to see against each result.
Further to the right, you’ll see exactly how many search ‘results’ have been returned to you and next to it you can save the ‘search’ parameter and also set up how often the list is refreshed and how often you wish to be notified of updates.
As a business developer, could you really ask for more?
But it’s the old story “you simply don’t know what you don’t know!”
So, to those who have been members for years and who are still not using this powerful utility, have you been honest with yourself about why you haven’t been getting real results from LinkedIn?
Maybe now is the time you asked yourself if you really know how to use LinkedIn?