LinkedIn - Stop LinkedIn Whinging And Wake Up To What You've Got

  • by Steve Phillip
  • 23 Mar, 2017

5 Tips To Attracting New Customers On LinkedIn

If I see another comment or post from a LinkedIn user whinging about the new user interface or that LinkedIn needs to get their act together because it's a shambles since the new look platform arrived, I'll personally disconnect the accounts of those users (not sure how but I'm sure I'll find a way)!

Complaining about LinkedIn this way is like constantly moaning about the state of the world we live in, whilst forgetting to live a life or taking strides to make the situation better. 

LinkedIn is not the perfect platform, its new user interface is buggy, certain functions don't,  it's takes a few more seconds to load pages (anyone remember dial-up internet access?!) and THEY'VE STOLEN ALL MY BELOVED FREE FEATURES!

Free features? Did someone say free?!

What Does LinkedIn Offer You For Free?

Well let's ask James, a client of mine who emailed me this week and told me how he had been responding to posts requesting information and support rather than simply indirect selling or marketing to his LinkedIn network and how this approach continues to pay dividends. He provided two examples: "A colleague sent me a link to a post requesting some information on storage solutions. I responded immediately and also called to introduce myself and the solutions I could offer. The post was only 4hrs old but within this time the company had already received information from another supplier and placed the order! Unfortunately I just missed out on this opportunity but it demonstrates how effective the platform can be. The MD of this company, with just a single post, must have saved hours of searching around for potential suppliers."

James had some better news however; "Scrolling through posts yesterday evening instead of the TV channels, I came across a similar request reaching out for info. I immediately drafted an email on the mobile (as it was late) and made contact by email and phoned first thing this morning to qualify their requirements. I quoted this afternoon and arranged for the customer to visit to our site on Monday to collect some samples for trial.   Like most things in life, with positivity and persistence good things will come your way, eventually!"

I'd like you take note of the final line from James's comments; "Like most things in life, with positivity and persistence, good things will come your way, eventually!". If you're expecting to surf LinkedIn once in a blue moon, send out an occasional invitation to connect or randomly like and comment on a few posts and that new customers will somehow come a knocking at you door, well welcome to the real world!

In the UK, only 2 out of 10 invitations to connect will result in an acceptance (at Linked2Success we achieve between 45-65%). If you don't have a daily plan to allocate at least half an hour per day to specific activities on LinkedIn then why are you expecting to achieve results?

Man Without Facebook Page Lands His Biggest Client To Date.

I had a fascinating conversation this week with a prospective client, who, earlier in the week, had invited me to connect with him on LinkedIn. Following a couple of back and forth messages, we arranged to speak on the phone. Richard explained how he had recently set up his own manufacturing business and had been highly sceptical of social media - he doesn't even have a Facebook account (imagine that!!).  "I set up a profile for my company and even created one for my wife's new business. I then began sharing some posts and started making connections with relevant contacts. I also learnt the importance of sharing striking images on social media and one of my wife's LinkedIn posts has so far achieved more than 50,000 views! The most surprising thing though, has been that I've won new clients for my business, in fact our biggest client to date came from LinkedIn." 

Since January this year, I have personally secured a training contract with a UK automotive manufacturer and delivered several workshops for them. I'm currently involved in similar discussions with another European  motor company. Both of these opportunities came from posts I had shared but more importantly, from the subsequent conversations I had with individuals who left comments on my posts. One of these online conversations went on for weeks, all contained within LinkedIn. In fact, I have yet to speak with this individual on the phone, let alone meet but our conversations continue to thrive built upon the principles of know, like and trust.

Was I lucky to uncover these opportunities? Definitely not! I plan to meet people like this on LinkedIn. I don't always know who the specific contact will be, I just know the type of person I want to attract.

How Do You Attract Your Ideal Customer On LinkedIn?

1. Know who you want to speak to - create a target persona; what industry are they in, which company do they work for, what is their job role?
2. Understand what their pain points are - what challenges does your ideal customer experience in their business and how can you solve these?3. Map your LinkedIn profile - make sure your profile let's your customer know that you understand them and demonstrates how you can help?4. Create a content plan - know what you want to say to your prospective customer and create/source relevant content and share it with them.
5. Have more conversations - check LinkedIn daily and respond to those who engage with your posts and messages - engage with theirs.

Timing is everything. If you don't reply to my message or my request for help then you might be busy. However, what your lack of response tells me is that my message is less important than other tasks you have to deal with this week and if that's the case fair enough, I'll move on to someone else who is more able to engage and do business with me.

If building a professional network is important to you or you have a role in sales or business development then you'll want to apply the tips I'm sharing in this post. However, if this kind of activity is not part of your remit, then you don't need to apply any of the approaches or principles I've mentioned, you can simply continue to surf LinkedIn.

Yes, LinkedIn is far from perfect and I am open to any suggestions and recommendations to consider other platforms. However, my criteria will be; is this replacement platform the No. 1 online professional networking site, does it have more than 460 million members, in over 200 countries and territories and has it been established for more than 14 years?

Many thanks for viewing my post and would you please share it with anyone you feel would benefit from the advice provided.

Steve

If you have any private questions on the subject matter you can connect with me on LinkedIn and send me a message, or else you’ll find my contact details on my LinkedIn profile uk.linkedin.com/in/stevephillip . You can also follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/Linked2Steve
by Steve Phillip 12 Jun, 2017

I got cross this week, mainly cross with myself I must say. On Thursday, I'd set some time aside, late in the day, to carry out my usual LinkedIn and social selling activities, when I received a scheduled call from a client.

I’d kind of expected the call to last 15 minutes or so and when, 45 minutes later, we were still talking, I began to realise that my social selling window had rapidly diminished.

After 20 minutes, I knew I’d missed the boat, as far as engaging with my network for that day was concerned and I   was   cross for 2 reasons; one because I knew I was clock watching and after 20 minutes or so, not giving my client the full attention he deserved and 2, because I knew that I should not have left my social selling activity until the last job of the day!

by Steve Phillip 29 May, 2017
Have you ever found yourself thinking   "I'd like to send that person a LinkedIn connection request"   and instead, you hesitate and think better of it? Are there moments when you want to leave a comment on someone else's post but a mild level of stress builds up inside and you quickly move your fingers away from the keyboard? Do you have some great insight that you'd like to share with your LinkedIn network but the very thought of posting an update, let alone writing an article, fills you with dread? If you experience any of these traits, then welcome to Parapet Syndrome!

'Putting your head over the parapet' is a term with various definitions, some of which include:   to do something that may cause people to criticise you; to be brave enough to state an opinion that might upset someone; to do or say something you think is important even though it may have bad results.   Each of these examples involve taking a risk, where the outcome could be a level of physical or mental pain for person sticking their head over the parapet.

by Steve Phillip 15 May, 2017
In the new age of social selling, if you keep on doing what you've always done, you will not achieve what you used to get.

There are few things that annoy me more than a cold call, which interrupts my morning, my routine, my thought process and my equilibrium. You'd think by now that I would be disciplined enough not to answer such a call, especially when I'm in the middle of doing something 'important' but no, like you possibly, I kid myself that this unrecognised number could be my next most valuable client. Of course it isn't - instead it's Mike from an insurance company asking me if I have time to discuss my options for health cover.

After 2 minutes of Mike trying to convince me to spend "just 10 minutes" with him on the phone to discuss how I might protect myself and my loved ones from the devastating consequences of leaving my health to chance, I manage to release myself from our call and attempt to get my head back into the business proposal I was writing before Mike intruded on my time.
by Steve Phillip 02 May, 2017

If you’re reading this post, the chances are you’re a parent, with a child or children who attend school and if you’re not, then you probably know someone who is. If you are a teacher then you're probably wondering why I'm providing parents with advice about how to criticise you? If so, then please read on and be reassured.

Rarely, these days, does a week go by, when we don’t hear coverage on the news about cases of online bullying. You’d be forgiven for thinking that this phenomenon, tagged as ‘cyberbullying’, is mainly aimed at children, such as the tragic story of 14 year old Megan Evans , from Millford Haven, who, in February 2017, was driven to take her own life, following a consistent campaign of cyber-bullying on the social media site Snapchat.

Such stories are particularly heart breaking when they involve children. Equally concerning though is the increase with which teachers are on the receiving end of similar bullying and abuse and often from the parents of the children they teach.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) receives hundreds of calls every week from teachers who are being ‘cyberbullied’ The majority of such complaints are about parents using websites and social media, in particular, to attack those they entrust with their childrens’ education.

This week, the media has emphasised the problem of inappropriate online posts by singling out some of the top web and social media sites for failing to do enough to prevent illegal and hateful content being shared online.


by Steve Phillip 24 Apr, 2017
Are you exhibiting at a business market in the coming weeks? Perhaps you've organised your own conference or seminar and you're keen to ensure you achieve a high level of quality attendees?  Such events are great opportunities to network, attract new customers or partners and do business but only if you've prepared adequately.

Over the years, I've exhibited and been a keynote speaker at many business markets and conferences but it never fails to amaze me how so often companies fail to maximise their involvement at these events. Whenever I exhibit or speak, I never turn up without first letting the world and her dog know that I’m going to be there.

I’m always surprised when event organisers email to thank me for frequently tweeting my attendance at their event. Often I’m provided with a database of registered attendees and again, the organisers thank me for sending out an email to let these contacts know where they can find me on the day and in the process, of course, I end up indirectly promoting the entire event.
by Steve Phillip 12 Apr, 2017
One of the most common questions I'm asked is, "How much time do you spend on LinkedIn each day?" I soon see through this inquisitive probing of my own personal LinkedIn habits and recognise that what the questioner is really wanting the answer to is, "How much time will I have to spend on LinkedIn to win new business because, actually, I'm very busy doing all kinds of other important stuff ?"
by Steve Phillip 30 Mar, 2017
Should you have a LinkedIn company page, what are the benefits? This particular aspect of LinkedIn is one I receive a lot of communications about. For many members, it seems that LinkedIn company pages are somewhat of an inigma; "what are they for, how do I use them, do I need one?"
by Steve Phillip 28 Mar, 2017
In my recent post The Demise And Rise Of The Car Dealership , I examined the changing face of the new car buyer and stressed the importance of automotive retailers building online communities to engage with their customers, if they expect to still be in existence in years to come.

The retail experience, at the majority of car dealerships, has changed little in decades and falls well short of customers’ expectations. It’s little wonder then, that so many customers prefer going to the dentist than entering a car showroom . Something has to change and the industry has a tool at its disposal that will go a considerable way to winning over new customers and securing the future of the car dealership.

The future of retail is not going to be about simply selling more products, instead it will come from encouraging customers to engage with the buying process because they know, like and trust your brand and your dealership’s employees – you must first make them ‘ raving fans’ .

Imagine a future, where your salespeople keep in touch with their customers, throughout their ownership cycle, even becoming friends with them and your customers become your best ambassadors, regularly sharing your news, offers and product launches with their friends and families. What would happen if your customers bought into ‘Brand You’, as much, if not more than they do with the manufacturers’ you represent?
by Steve Phillip 23 Mar, 2017
If I see another comment or post from a LinkedIn user whinging about the new user interface or that LinkedIn needs to get their act together because it's a shambles since the new look platform arrived, I'll personally disconnect the accounts of those users (not sure how but I'm sure I'll find a way)!

Complaining about LinkedIn this way is like constantly moaning about the state of the world we live in, whilst forgetting to live a life or taking strides to make the situation better. 

LinkedIn is not the perfect platform, its new user interface is buggy, certain functions don't,  it's takes a few more seconds to load pages (anyone remember dial-up internet access?!) and THEY'VE STOLEN ALL MY BELOVED FREE FEATURES!

Free features? Did someone say free?!

What Does LinkedIn Offer You For Free?

Well let's ask James, a client of mine who emailed me this week and told me how he had been responding to posts requesting information and support rather than simply indirect selling or marketing to his LinkedIn network and how this approach continues to pay dividends. He provided two examples: "A colleague sent me a link to a post requesting some information on storage solutions. I responded immediately and also called to introduce myself and the solutions I could offer. The post was only 4hrs old but within this time the company had already received information from another supplier and placed the order! Unfortunately I just missed out on this opportunity but it demonstrates how effective the platform can be. The MD of this company, with just a single post, must have saved hours of searching around for potential suppliers."

James had some better news however; "Scrolling through posts yesterday evening instead of the TV channels, I came across a similar request reaching out for info. I immediately drafted an email on the mobile (as it was late) and made contact by email and phoned first thing this morning to qualify their requirements. I quoted this afternoon and arranged for the customer to visit to our site on Monday to collect some samples for trial.   Like most things in life, with positivity and persistence good things will come your way, eventually!"

I'd like you take note of the final line from James's comments; "Like most things in life, with positivity and persistence, good things will come your way, eventually!". If you're expecting to surf LinkedIn once in a blue moon, send out an occasional invitation to connect or randomly like and comment on a few posts and that new customers will somehow come a knocking at you door, well welcome to the real world!

In the UK, only 2 out of 10 invitations to connect will result in an acceptance (at Linked2Success we achieve between 45-65%). If you don't have a daily plan to allocate at least half an hour per day to specific activities on LinkedIn then why are you expecting to achieve results?

Man Without Facebook Page Lands His Biggest Client To Date.

I had a fascinating conversation this week with a prospective client, who, earlier in the week, had invited me to connect with him on LinkedIn. Following a couple of back and forth messages, we arranged to speak on the phone. Richard explained how he had recently set up his own manufacturing business and had been highly sceptical of social media - he doesn't even have a Facebook account (imagine that!!).  "I set up a profile for my company and even created one for my wife's new business. I then began sharing some posts and started making connections with relevant contacts. I also learnt the importance of sharing striking images on social media and one of my wife's LinkedIn posts has so far achieved more than 50,000 views! The most surprising thing though, has been that I've won new clients for my business, in fact our biggest client to date came from LinkedIn." 

Since January this year, I have personally secured a training contract with a UK automotive manufacturer and delivered several workshops for them. I'm currently involved in similar discussions with another European  motor company. Both of these opportunities came from posts I had shared but more importantly, from the subsequent conversations I had with individuals who left comments on my posts. One of these online conversations went on for weeks, all contained within LinkedIn. In fact, I have yet to speak with this individual on the phone, let alone meet but our conversations continue to thrive built upon the principles of know, like and trust.

Was I lucky to uncover these opportunities? Definitely not! I plan to meet people like this on LinkedIn. I don't always know who the specific contact will be, I just know the type of person I want to attract.

by Steve Phillip 19 Mar, 2017
"Daddy, tell me again, people actually used to drive cars themselves.....why?"


In my life time and therefore yours, driverless cars will become the norm. Salespeople will no longer take customers on test drives, finding a convenient location to handover the keys, watching attentively as the customer struggles to master the unfamiliar stick-shift (yes, my Stateside friends, we still favour fumbling with a manual gear shifter here in the UK), where reverse gear has inexplicably moved from top left to bottom right of the gear knob.

Imagine a situation, where a device, worn on the wrist or woven into clothing allows car owners to summon their vehicle, hop in and through voice activation, input their destination and then sit back for the ride, whilst checking their latest social media updates. Science fiction, a world from another century? I'm afraid not, these days have already arrived. 

Uber is at an advanced stage of driverless taxi development and Google already has driverless prototypes on the road in California. Some luxury carmakers are already fitting autopilots to their vehicles to help owners handle motorway traffic. Sure there is still a way to go, before driverless vehicles become a natural replacement for the human driver and the technology still has to be proven as a completely safe method of transport, as Tesla's very public crash of one of their vehicles demonstrates. Then there are the unknown factors, driverless technology has to cope with, such as temporary traffic lights or a school crossing warden (lollipop person), suddenly halting your progress.

The Real Challenge For Today's Car Dealership Is Already Here Though

Before you start worrying about cancelling your current driver-required vehicle consignments, there is a more pressing issue you should be considering, if you are a Dealer Principal or the director of an automotive group and that is, where will your future customers come from and are your employees suitably equipped to attract and retain them?

In the past month, I've spoken with 2 friends who shared, in a highly exasperated manner, their experiences of buying a car from a retail dealership. One told me how he'd done all his research online and with the exception of one or two specific questions, he was ready to buy. For the first 20 minutes of his showroom visit however, Angus was on the receiving end of the diligent salesperson's qualifying process; "what are you intending to use the car for sir?", "who else will be driving the vehicle?". It didn't take long for my friend to vent his frustration and ask;   "just tell me, how do I buy this car?!"

Then there's my pal David, who spent last weekend, with his wife and children, looking for a car and on two occasions experienced exactly the same scenario. Once again, having researched various car options online, David was certain which vehicle he wanted to buy, he also explained to the salespeople he met that he had the finance in place and was ready to do the deal.  Within 5 minutes of explaining his requirements to the salesperson, he was introduced to the business manager, who then proceeded to explain the FCA regulations and presented the options of paint protection and gap insurance. When David explained he didn't require this information and that they had the finance in place, the response was "I'm required legally to explain this information to you sir". 

Despite the significant steps taken by many automotive manufacturers and dealers to promote a more friendly and trustworthy car buying experience for the customer, it seems that many are delivering quite the opposite. It would appear that little has changed in the past 50 years, as customers are passed from sales, to the business centre, to aftersales, all of whom appear to have their own agenda and require the customer to build trust with a new individual, with each transaction, whilst the salesperson moves on to his or her next new customer.

The Modern Customer's Retail Experience Online Needs To Be Mirrored When They Visit Your Dealership

Today's car buyer, millennials in particular, demand transparency and to feel that they can trust the people they intend to buy from. They need the purchasing experience to be simple, efficient and quick. In 2015, Auto Trader published a white paper " It's About Time: Streamlining In-Store Processes to Improve the Customer Experience ".  The main highlights of this paper showed that the average time it takes to complete the new car qualification and sales process is nearly 53 minutes  - more than half the amount of time a customer ideally wants to spend in total buying a car. Add to this the average of 21 minutes, to a maximum of 41 minutes, it can take to negotiate the deal, then an average of 43 minutes to go through the vehicle appraisal procedures and 61 minutes to be on the receiving end of the F&I process, then in our time challenged world, you can perhaps understand the trepidation many customers feel before entering a car dealership and the sense of sheer exhaustion they probably experience by the time they leave.  

Auto Trader's study concludes by showing that customer satisfaction is at its highest in the first 90 minutes of their visit to your dealership and then goes on a downward spiral from that point. If your customer spends more than 2.5 hours involved in buying a car, then their level of customer satisfaction drops below buyers' average customer satisfaction scores. The answer then, would seem to be that your dealership must effectively satisfy the customer's needs when they engage with you online, whilst finding ways to reduce the amount of time they have to spend in your dealership - you must therefore become brilliant at building relationships online and offline.

How Do You Build More Trust With Customers And Where Does Social Media Fit?   

As we move toward the end of the second decade of this new millennium, evidence suggests that customers' retail experiences are largely being shaped online, with 79% researching their vehicle options via Google and social media sites before approaching your dealership. Virtually all the information your customers require to enable them to make their purchasing decision and often facilitate the purchase itself, is available on the web. As just one example, customers can now use their mobile phones to compare what other buyers have paid for similar models, through information compiled by data gathering websites and at the click of a button the customer is then connected to the dealer who is offering the most competitive price. Increasingly new car buyers are sitting at home, undertaking their new vehicle purchase online with a salesperson they haven't ever met.

More than 4000 car shoppers took part in another study by Auto Trader.com, the outcome of which identified that 56 percent of those surveyed preferred to initiate their car buying process online and complete the financial transaction this way also.  Auto Trader examined the emerging buying behaviours of customers and discovered that over two-thirds of motorists are searching for a new car online between 6-9pm and 57% of these expect a response from a dealership they enquire of within 4 hours - is your dealership geared up to listen out and respond within this kind of time frame and at that time of day? If you're not, you will lose these customers to a more socially savvy competitor. Other studies indicate that 7 out of 8 brands actually fail to respond to online customer requests within 72 hours and yet 900 million complaints are made using Twitter every year.

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