It’s not a big secret that the vast majority of sales people are on LinkedIn. And most of those are using the site on a regular basis, researching prospects, connecting and reconnecting, sending emails, and updating their status. But most sales professionals overlook or undervalue one of the most powerful features available to them – Groups.
For those not familiar with groups on LinkedIn, there are over 2 million of them on the site. There are groups for associations, special interest, job seekers, industries, professions, and just about anything else where two or more people want to form a group. Groups can be open to anyone, or can require a request to join. LinkedIn members can belong to up to 50 groups (plus any sub-groups).
So how do groups help you sell more staffing business? There are several ways, and best of all they are both free and easy to implement.
1. Improved search results. When it comes to search results, LinkedIn essentially treats all of your fellow group members as 3rd level contacts. Belonging to large groups can literally increase your search results by millions. As a member of groups that your prospects belong to, your prospecting searches will yield significant better results.
2. Increased visibility to your prospects. Conversely, the more groups you belong to, the easier it is to find you. You will show up in more searches, and have more visibility being a member of the same groups.
3. Credibility and brand building. Within groups you are able to post discussions. Posting articles that you have written, or just sharing relevant information with your groups can position you as a thought leader, drives prospects to your LinkedIn profile and website, and ultimately results in more sales.
4. Direct email access to prospects. By belonging to the same group, you have the ability to send a message directly to a prospect (or anyone for that matter) without using an Inmail. This only works from the member search area of the group; you can’t do it directly from their profile. But hurry, LinkedIn keeps threatening to eliminate this feature or make it available only to premium accounts.
5. Create a captive audience. Did you know you can create your own group? If you don’t find any relevant active groups for your prospects, create your own. Send out invites to all of your prospects and clients, and make it required that people have to request to join or get an invite to become a member. Then you can keep your competitors out. But make sure that if you are going to create a group, you are willing and able to spend some time creating (or at least sharing) content that is of interest to your prospects. And stay away from the sales pitches.
So how do you get started? Its easy, just look at the groups your prospects belong to and join. Run searches on the niche industries, professions, or skill sets you sell to and see which ones are the largest and most active. Max out your 50 groups as soon as possible, start getting involved in discussions, and you will immediately begin to see the results.