It's 9 am. You've just finished your second cup of coffee, responded to pressing emails, and browsed through Sportscenter for the run down of the day's top stories. Now it's time to break out the prospect list that you built from Lexis Nexus and begin dialing for dollars, right? Well, only if you're stuck in 1996.
Forbes recently shared an article about how LinkedIn has radically changed the way cold calling is done today. In fact, the article suggests that if you have a well-implemented LinkedIn strategy, there may be no need to cold call at all! LinkedIn offers business executives a wealth of information for better lead generation. For example, you can find out where your point of contact went to school, organizations that he has a vested interest in, honors that he has received, connections that you have in common, etc. And all of this can be learned before the two of you even have a conversation!
The intention of LinkedIn is to warm up the sales process, therefore replacing the "dialing for dollars" cold calling mentality and focusing more on building rapport. All of us would prefer a warm referral over speaking with someone that you have absolutely no connection with as we know this is a more effective way to close business.
Since LinkedIn is one of the most powerful internet marketing tools out there, we talk about it a lot on our DigitalSherpa blog. In terms of lead generation, we've shared some tips for how to optimize LinkedIn groups for connecting with prospects and influencers in your industry. And, if you need some further convincing as to why you need to get active on this social media site, be sure to check out our recent post about 10 Things to Love About LinkedIn.
Do you currently use LinkedIn to warm up your prospecting efforts? If so, what are your best practices for doing so?