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“Without promotion something terrible happens… Nothing!”
– PT Barnum
Being it’s Halloween I thought I’d kick it off with a picture of two of the best promoters in show business. Miss Piggy and Kermit! Yes this is me. My girls begged me to dress up as Miss Piggy and here’s my sidekick Kermit.
Does the thought of making a cold call make you ill?
Well, picture this…you make a cold call and get an appointment on the first shot.
But guess what else?
The prospect writes you an endorsement for all your clients and colleagues to see. And you haven’t even met with them yet!
I know you’re thinking, “Let’s get a bucket of cold water on this guy. He’s clearly hallucinating.”
Now, I’ve made my fair share of cold and warm calls in my day, and I’ve never had anything remotely close to this happen. Until last week.
The Ultimate Un-Cold Call
Do you ever get frustrated with not reaching the decision maker?
Direct mail that ends up in the trash. Cold calls that don’t get through. Emails not opened.
As entrepreneurs, we are always looking for ways to reach our ideal client.
Well look no further, my friend, than LinkedIn.
LinkedIn may possibly be the most misunderstood and underutilized prospecting and marketing tool. And therein lies the opportunity.
Today, I’m going to focus on two simple methods to generate sales conversations with your ideal clients using LinkedIn.
This strategy involves sending a direct message to an ideal prospect on LinkedIn and extending to them some kind of invitation or call to action (CTA).
The CTA could be to an invitation for a one-on-one meeting, free consultation, live workshop, a webinar, download a white paper or e-book, etc.
Strategy Numero Uno
The first strategy is for connecting with a prospect you’ve already identified.
This is exactly what happened to me last week.
One thing that sets me apart from most marketing strategists and coaches is that I’ve actually owned successful businesses and continue to have ownership in other businesses.
By staying involved as a partner and on the board of directors of other companies, I stay connected with the real business world, which allows me to do a better job serving my dream clients here at Comeback Academy.
One of these companies is a mobile dental provider. We provide on-site dental services to the residents of assisted living centers. We have some really snazzy portable equipment and could literally do your root canal on your back porch.
Anyway, last week, I was dog sick with the flu. I had three hours to get three little girls and myself packed for our fall break road trip to Arizona. But I couldn’t even get off my bed.
As I was lying there, miserable and feeling completely unproductive, I just knew that somehow, I needed to accomplish one significant business goal that day.
I had been working with our mobile dental company to structure the sales and marketing processes. The start of those processes is setting up a discovery meeting with the owner or administrator of assisted living facilities.
Unlike most marketers, I actually like to cold call from time to time. I know, call me crazy.
Because of the uniqueness of our offering and the demand for our services, a cold call wouldn’t be out of the question. But frankly, I was too sick to get on the phone.
The Un-Cold Call to the Rescue!
I pulled up all the assisted living centers in my county with my business list provider, Sales Genie. I chose one and copied and pasted the owner’s name into my LinkedIn search bar.
Lucky for me, he just happened to be connected to one of my LinkedIn connections. So, in this case, I just sent him a request to connect. Within a couple hours, he had accepted, and I was all set to send him a message.
Now, if I hadn’t been able to send him a connection request, my other option would have been to send him an InMail, which doesn’t require a connection. These come with paid accounts, which I think start around $39 per month.
In any case, the short version of my message was:
“Hi, Joe, glad we could connect. I am a managing partner in a mobile dental company. We provide on-site dental care to residents of assisted living facilities. We are currently looking for facilities that might be a good partner for us.
The benefits to the residents and facilities are too numerous to go over here, but if you would like to learn more, let’s set up a free consultation to see if there might be a mutual fit.”
Joe responded back right away and readily agreed to a phone meeting.
And the next morning, before we had even spoken, he “endorsed” me for several marketing and entrepreneurial skills on my LinkedIn profile!
Wow! Has that ever happened in your life? Not mine. Not ever.
Welcome to the LinkedIn Un-Cold Call!
This is where things can get really supercharged. LinkedIn has groups, right? There is a LinkedIn group for about every interest under the sun.
You simply need to find the groups where your dream clients hang out. And you join them.
Some groups are open to anyone. Others you will have to be approved for by the organizer.
Once you have joined a group, you can now message anyone in that group without having them as a “Connection” and without using the paid “InMail” function.
Now, you can judiciously send “invitation” or CTA messages to members of the group individually. How you craft your message is critical. Don’t be spammy. Make sure that your free offer (consult, webinar, workshop, white paper, ebook, video training, etc.) is likely to have high value to your prospect.
Position yourself as an expert. Come from a place of strength. Be low-pressure but direct.
If it’s an invite directly to a consultation, make it subtly clear that you are looking for a “mutual fit” (i.e., you don’t take everyone on as a client).
If inviting to a workshop or webinar then make sure you highlight the concrete outcomes they can expect to get by attending.
Why LinkedIn Is So Effective
There are many reasons why LinkedIn has become such an effective marketing and prospecting tool. But here are a few of my favs:
1. Bypass the gatekeeper. Enough said.
2. LinkedIn messages are less common and, therefore, stand out vs. regular emails, cold calls or direct mail.
3. Your prospect can see your profile picture (harder to say no to a face than an unknown voice or piece of mail).
4. Your prospect can see your expertise, experience and endorsements, giving you instant credibility.
5. Your prospect may be connected to others in your network, giving you an instant helping of Know, Like and Trust.
Open your eyes to the world of LinkedIn. There are numerous other ways to generate business using LinkedIn beyond what I’ve listed here.
And don’t think you’re off the hook if you sell to consumers instead of businesses.
There are some stealth techniques for finding your dream consumer clients on LinkedIn, too. I’m going to cover a few of them in a future blog post, so stay tuned!