Monthly Archives: April 2019

Generate Leads with LinkedIn Optimization

I’ve written blog posts about LinkedIn before. I’ve built a company by using LinkedIn. When I started my virtual assistant company in 2009, I chose LinkedIn as my go-to social media platform for networking and marketing. Why? Because my niche market was external wholesalers, financial advisors and other professionals in the financial services industry. Almost all my prospects had a LinkedIn profile. Also, LinkedIn was easy to use and easy to manage.

Fast forward ten years and I still used LinkedIn as my number one social media platform. I’ve built some amazing relationship on LinkedIn and have learned over the years the best ways to use it to build a business.

But now I’m ready to step it up a notch and so I am now working on optimizing my LinkedIn profile. There are several things that go into a LinkedIn profile and the algorithm LinkedIn uses to suggest connections for you. Although, I was doing a great job before – I want to do an even better job.

Things I’ve recently learned about LinkedIn.

  1. As a business owner, you should have a business page, a personal profile and showcase pages.
  2. To maximize your appeal, you should have enough information about you, your products and/or services on your LinkedIn profile to entice someone to want to do business with you without having to check out your website.
  3. You should include a handful of recommendations/testimonials and give recommendations to others.
  4. Make sure you have enough images on your profile such as a cover image, image of yourself, images next to your experience, etc.

If you are interested in working with us to have your profile optimized please feel free to reach out to me at dbranson@eliteschedulingservices.com. My profile is being optimized as we speak so stay tuned for more information on this service.

If you are a professional marketing to other professionals, consider making LinkedIn a bigger part of your networking efforts. I spend about 30 minutes a day on LinkedIn and it does take time to build a solid network but it’s worth it! Here’s how it’s worked for me.

Start with your profile. I admit, I need a better picture of myself (It’s on my To Do list), a good professional photo is a must. It still amazes me the people who went to the trouble of creating a LinkedIn page and then never added a photo. I don’t know about you, but I’m hesitant to connect with someone whose profile picture is a white silhouette of a person on a gray background. A professional photo is best but depending on your field you may be able to do just as much networking with a more casual one.

Complete as much as the profile as possible. Before someone will connect with you they want to look at your page to be able to see where you live, where you work, what your past work experiences are, where you went to college, etc. The more you include the better. Someone may connect with you for the simple fact that they notice you went to the same college, or live in the same city, or are both a part of the same group or organization. You never know what might attract more connections, so fill it all out.

Start connecting. This is the way I look at it … I reach out to people who I can help, not people who can help me. There has to be something in it for my connections. Why would they be interested in connecting with me? What problem do they have that I can solve? I only reach out to a very specific group of people. I’m not just willy-nilly connecting with everyone on LinkedIn.

As far as connecting there are a few ways to do it. You can either send a request to connect with someone, you can send a note to request a connection or you can go through a mutual connection to connect with someone. I’ve sent invites and notes, but I’ve never requested a connection through a mutual connection.

When it comes to deciding on whether to send an invite or a note I suggest this: When you are just starting out and building your network – send notes. If you are requesting connections that have very few mutual connections with you – send a note. If you are requesting connections from people that have a lot of mutual connections, like say 20 or more – send an invite.

When someone requests a connection with me, I personally look to see how many connections we have in common. If we have a ton of connections in common, I’ll connect with them. If we don’t have many connections in common than I would like to see a note as to why I should connect with this person.

Send a personal note to your connections. Once someone has connected with you, send them a personal note introducing yourself. You want to make it clear who you are, what you do and how you can help them or how they can help you. Maybe they have a product or service, you are interested in. I have found that I get a great response from person notes. Don’t bcc everyone into a mass email.

Be active. One way to maximize your visibility is to post relevant material to your business. Post articles, blog posts, images … anything that can create a buzz about your business and how you help others. Part of optimizing a profile is having a social media calendar and a list of articles to post – we can help you with this!

Also, by joining groups in your target market you can post your relevant materials in those groups as well to gain more visibility.

In my 30 minutes a day on LinkedIn I first send personal messages to everyone who has connected with me since the day before. Then I go to the People You May Know list and try to connect with as many people as I can for the remainder of that time.

Once per week I do post a blog on my profile as well as in five groups that I’m in. The blog posts drive traffic to my LinkedIn site and often to my website. I probably will be increasing my posts on LinkedIn through my optimization.

I hope you’ve found this article helpful and will spend a few minutes today updating your LinkedIn profile, joining a few groups and creating a LinkedIn calendar to help keep you spend a few minutes each day building your network. After a few weeks you will notice an increase in your visibility. I didn’t grow my almost 5,000 connections overnight. If you are interested in increasing your connection at a faster rate I recommend optimizing your profile.

In the past 10 years, I’ve only ever gotten business through either LinkedIn, word-of-mouth referrals and people finding me on a Google search. I don’t have an advertising budget and it’s been wonderful.

More about me:

I am the Founder of Elite Scheduling Services. We offer appointment setting, marketing and administrative services to professionals in the financial industry. You can find more information about me and my company at www.eliteschedulingservices.com. I will be adding a lead generation section to my website soon!

 

 

 

 

Undervalued Lead Generation Strategies

Cold calling isn’t dead, but let’s be honest, who loves cold calling? Other than the amazing scheduling assistants on my team who prospect for specific clients, I haven’t met a business professional that loves cold calling. Here are some other great ways to generate leads!

  1. LinkedIn – LinkedIn is great for business-to-business relationships. When you keep a consistent schedule of connecting with your target market and sharing valuable posts to help them in their business you can build quite a following on the platform. There are business pages, profile pages, showcase pages and so much more you can take advantage of to help grow your business through LinkedIn. Stay tuned for next weeks post on maximizing your LinkedIn profile.
  2. Word of Mouth – When you offer value to your clients and they are happy, they are more than happy to share their good fortune with their colleagues. Create a reputation that allows your clients to share with your prospects and ask for referrals – a referral is the greatest complement a client can give you!
  3. Dinner/Lunch Seminars – Seminars are a great way to get in front of a group of people that you can help. If you want high quality clients, offer a high-quality meal. When these are done right you should have a great return on investment.
  4. Educational Workshops – Create a stellar workshop around a popular topic or pain point for you prospects and get them to come listen to you present without a meal. This is still a great way to get in front of a group of people and a lot of people are more likely to come to a group meeting versus a one-on-one appointment the first time meeting you.
  5. Lead Funnels – Depending on your target market using Facebook and Google Ads have become a great way to generate leads that just show up in your inbox. Lead funnels can be complex and to ensure a great return on your investment it’s advised you hire a professional who knows what they are doing.
  6. Snail Mail – Yes, that’s right – send your prospects a good old-fashioned letter or marketing piece. In case you haven’t noticed, you probably don’t get much mail anymore. I know I don’t – so I read every piece I receive. I’ve decided to hire local professionals based on the mail I’ve received from them. Now that junk mail is on the decline, mail just seems so much more personal. I get maybe 5 pieces of mail per day compared to hundreds of emails.

I am the founder of Elite Scheduling Services and we provide external wholesalers, financial advisors and other professionals in the financial industry with administrative, marketing and appointment setting services. You can learn more about me and my services at www.eliteschedulingservices.com. My website will be updated soon to reflect our LinkedIn profile and lead optimization services along with our lead funnel services.

How to Create a Sales Funnel

There are a lot of ways to create sales funnels using so many different platforms – Facebook, Google Ads, LinkedIn, Click Funnels, Active Campaign, etc. The most important thing with sales funnels is to follow the steps below to maximize it’s potential.

According to Business Know How here’s how to go about creating a sales funnel to drive sales for your business:

Step 1: Identify Your Prospects

The first step in the sales process is identifying prospects. The goal is to drive interested parties into the wide end of your sales funnel so that you can qualify them as good prospects or identify them as “unwanted residue.”

First, begin by defining your ideal customer. It helps if you draw a sketch.

Create a questionnaire for yourself that identifies the problems your ideal customer has. For instance, if you are financial advisor, you may have a questionnaire that looks something like this:

  1. Do you need help with your financial planning?
  2. Do you expect big changes coming like a home purchase, retirement or kids in college?
  3. Are you currently working with a financial advisor?
  4. Are you happy with your current financial situation?

You’ll have to come up with your own list of qualifying questions. You’re not going to share this questionnaire with anyone; it’s merely for your planning benefit. The goal here is to figure out your ideal customer’s needs and desires.

Step 2: Qualify Your Prospects

Just because a person fits into your ideal customer demographic doesn’t mean that they are necessarily an ideal customer. Maybe Bob and Jane would like to retire but they have zero money. They certainly wouldn’t be in your prospect range if that is the case.

Therefore, you’ll need a way to qualify your prospects after you’ve identified them, and after you’ve driven them into your sales funnel.

Qualifying prospects is not difficult. You can take surveys or conduct polls, you can start conversations and get people to talking so that they reveal their needs and desires, or you can create a product that appeals to your ideal customer then promote it to the right audience. Those who qualify will bite while those who don’t, won’t.

Step 3: Apply Sales Funnel Fundamentals

Your sales funnel consists of the means you use to drive prospects and potential customers to your business and close the sale. Online, you might have a blog that you write to every day. You promote your blog on social media to draw attention to your business. After you get prospects to your blog, you entice them with an offer in order to get their e-mail addresses. You then send out periodic e-mail messages to get those prospects interested in a product you want them to buy.

Some marketers go so far as to segment their prospects. They can then market specific products to those segments.

Step 4: Establish Your Sales Funnel

The best way to set your sales funnel is to plan it backwards. If you are trying to get an appointment, for instance, you have to find the people willing to meet with you for the benefits you’re offering. But very few people are going to meet with you unless they know they can trust you. So, you have to slowly build up some trust.

That means you need to offer a video or guide of some sort to entice them to learn more about what you can offer then. You’ll need to create that product, but what needs to happen before you do that?

Walk yourself through the sales process backward. At each step in the process, ask yourself, “What is my prospect likely to do before they trust me enough to take this action?” Then ask yourself, “What do I need to do to drive my prospect to that decision?”

A typical backward plan for a sales process looks like this:

  1. Flagship offer (the appointment)
  2. Mid-range offer (a financial planning guide)
  3. Intro product (a video)
  4. Free informational piece (teaser)
  5. E-mail opt-in campaign
  6. Blog conversation
  7. Social media interaction

Offline, it might look more like this:

  1. Appointment
  2. Planning guide
  3. Video
  4. Receives monthly brochure
  5. Gets on mailing list
  6. Checks out website
  7. Meet at networking event

The key is to understand what your customer wants and what you have to do to deliver those benefits. To get to the initial stage in your sales process, you have to think backward from the point you want your customer to end up. That’s how you create your sales funnel.

These sales funnels sound complicated, but they work! I know a lot of people these sales funnels and most of them work so well those people start building sales funnels for other people.

If you are interested in learning more about sales funnels and how we can help you, please don’t hesitate to email me at dbranson@eliteschedulingservices.com.

I am the Founder of Elite Scheduling Services. We offer scheduling, administrative and marketing services to professionals in the financial industry.

Danae Branson