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AdminJun 18, 2021 2:02:58 AM6 min read

Leverage LinkedIn With David J.P. Fisher

How do you use LinkedIn? With over 750 million members, the social network is a place to learn, connect, and of course, send a sales pitch immediately after making a new connection. Joking! But my guess is if you have an account, you’ve experienced this.

Or a few random requests, from people you don’t know, with that generic LinkedIn greeting:

“Hi (First Name) I’d Like to Join Your Network”

As a LinkedIn user over a decade, I have been guilty of this. If you have previously received that general request from me, please accept my apologies. I just didn’t know any better; probably didn’t even think about sending a personalized greeting. As you’ll read below, personalization is not a requirement and doesn’t guarantee a response. And occasionally, prompts an odd reply.

I still don’t know what this reply I received last year is supposed to mean:

My first foray into LinkedIn was way, way back in 2006 – 2007 and I distinctly remember creating two accounts:

  • One for my employer (to promote what was happening there).
  • And one for me to use outside of my job.

As to why? My guess is I figured I would turn over my account to my employer when I left? Who knows? The point is I was doing it wrong and probably breaking some LinkedIn rules too.

Chances are LinkedIn provides opportunities for you to grow your network and business. Here are some compelling stats:

1. 76% of buyers are ready to have sales conversations on social media.

2. According to LinkedIn, 62% of B2B customers respond to salespeople
who connect by sharing content and insights that are relevant to the buyer.

So, is there a blueprint to follow? It doesn’t happen overnight. While there is no one single way to get started, we caught up with LinkedIn expert and sales author David J.P. Fisher for some tips to get started. Also known as D. Fish, David trains sales teams on how to use LinkedIn effectively and to make the most of their time spent on the tool. He is also an incredible speaker and teacher, and if you have not already, connect with him.

In the latest expert perspective series, David let us pick his brain to share actionable and practical tips.

How much time should an account manager/business professional etc. spend per week on LinkedIn outreach?

There isn’t a hard and fast rule for how often someone should be on LinkedIn. It will depend on the other channels they use for outreach and the industry/ market they’re working with.  That being said, it makes sense to be on LinkedIn for at least 15 to 20 minutes daily to engage with your newsfeed and interact with your connections.

What are some common misconceptions business professionals/salespeople have about LinkedIn?

LinkedIn isn’t necessarily the place to drive sales directly. And because of that, business development professionals miss out on many opportunities to create connections and find potential business.

The key is to take a long-term approach, and not a transactional one. And that’s very different than the way selling has been approached over the past few decades.

What are the most common missteps/mistakes you see business development folks make on LinkedIn?

The most common mistakes I see revolve around not creating a clear and compelling message on LinkedIn that attracts potential clients. A lot of this stems from not having an optimized LinkedIn profile.It is worth taking time to make sure that you look good to your profile visitors. The other big mistake we’ve seen is the whole “connect and pitch” system, where sales professionals reach out to create a connection and then immediately send a sales pitch. My guess is this has not been a strategy that has worked at in-person networking events. When was the last time you closed a sale 30 seconds after meeting them?

How important is personalizing outreach when reaching out to new connections on LinkedIn?

It can be relatively easy to have someone accept a connection request without personalization. But it can be very hard to leverage that relationship because that person has just accepted the invitation blindly. Personalizing your connection request creates context at the beginning of your relationship with this new connection.

What are some tips you have for engaging/responding/joining conversations on LinkedIn?

The easiest way to get involved, is to get involved! Take 10 to 15 minutes to go through your newsfeed and engage with the content that your network is sharing. Liking and commenting is a great way to stay in front of your connections, and to start conversations with them. Think of it like an online networking event or conference. Just like you would engage with your connections in the real world, you can do that online.

D, you recently launched packages that outline how companies in the 15-150 employees’ range can successfully leverage LinkedIn. Can you share more about what you cover and how people can get in touch?

The pandemic and social distancing accelerated the need for organizations to provide guidance and training for their people on LinkedIn and other online outlets. Our program helps companies develop and clarify the messaging for their team’s LinkedIn profiles and posts. And then we work through 1-on-1 coaching and team training to help everyone authentically integrate that messaging into their online presence.

What’s your #1 piece of advice for anyone not currently active on LinkedIn, who wants to get started?

Baby steps. You don’t have to go from newbie to social media guru overnight. Taking small steps to move the needle in the right direction is all that matters. Start with your profile optimization and engagement with your network’s posts. And then build your confidence and comfort until you are sharing your own curated and created content.

Have one or two generic introduction/outreach templates you could share that work well?

I like to give a reason why I’m reaching out to invite them into my network:
Hi _____,
I wanted to reach out because {we met at X event, I saw that you were at Company Y and we’ve worked with them, I saw your post about Z, I love connecting with fellow Wildcats.}
I’d love to connect. We do a lot of work in the ____ space, and if I can ever be of assistance, let me know.

For good measure, here is one I use for reaching out that has worked well:

Hi ____,
Happy Friday. Saw we have some mutual LinkedIn connections, both work in X, and hoping we can connect as well.
I work for a company in Chicago/River North/your city called Y. Enjoy the rest of your week.
You at Your Company

Lastly D, any professionals or connections out there you want to give a “shout out” to – folks doing an effective job of building their brand on LinkedIn?

There are a lot of people doing a great job on LinkedIn right now. Some of my favorites from the sales and marketing worlds include Andy Crestodina, Greg Mischio, Jon Selig, Catherine Morgan, and Mark Bealin. Definitely worth following to see how it’s done.

If you are interested in learning more from any of the experts D. Fish mentions above:

Greg Mischio of Winbound

Catherine Morgan of Point A to Point B Transitions

Mark Bealin of Search Lab 

Jon Selig of Comedy Writing for Sales Teams

Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media

Thanks to David J.P. Fisher for these incredible insights. Please visit his website to learn more about service offerings.

We’d love to hear more about your experience using LinkedIn. Share some of your strategies, templates, and ideas in the comments. Or reach out if you like to chat!