The Biz Dev Side of LinkedIn; Part I

First and foremost, I am a salesman at heart. I can recite line after line from movies like Boiler Room and Glengarry Glen Ross, and yet I have never seen one episode of Mad Men. Now I do not endorse the ethical implications in either movie mentioned above, but I do appreciate the hunter mentality, the endless cold calls, and the numerous “no thank you” responses that salespeople get as they get closer to the one “Yes”.

Photo Cred: MarkHillary

LinkedIn has changed this process tremendously. Salespeople no longer have to go through endless conversations with gatekeepers to find out who they need to talk to; instead a quick LinkedIn search will provide the name and title of the person he or she is trying to reach. This changes the game dramatically. No more getting forwarded to a voicemail so that the name of the person can be recorded so it can be used at a later date. Instead, the persons name can be used on the first call, as long as the research is done ahead of time.

LinkedIn provides much more information than the name and title. People usually include past companies, professional associations, and where they went to college on their LinkedIn profile. There may be a mutual contact that can help make an introduction or something that can be a conversation starter.

Let me provide one specific example from my past. I saw on LinkedIn that the person I was talking to went to Hartwick College. When I was looking at colleges I took an overnight visit to Hartwick as I was being recruited to play lacrosse. At the end of a long night I went with some members of the team to get “cold cheese pizza”. I forgot the name of the establishment, but they took a hot slice of pizza from the oven and put a handful of cold mozzarella on it. As the call was going south, I mentioned the fact that I was familiar with Hartwick and my favorite part of my visit was the cold cheese pizza. The call took a complete 180 and I was able to move forward in the sales process with that contact. I am sure that I would not have even had a second call if I did not do my research.

Social media is a powerful prospecting tool. Look for specific contacts and find ways to relate with individuals that you plan on contacting before the call.

What examples do you have about using social media in the sales process? How has it changed your prospecting methods?

5 Thoughts on “The Biz Dev Side of LinkedIn; Part I

  1. Indeed Miguel. Having just got on-board with LinkedIn and Twitter, I’ve seen extraordinary results in leads. Thanks for the tips.

  2. Beth VanVliet on January 6, 2010 at 9:03 am said:

    I think one of the most important lessons in this post is the effort you made to personalize the conversation. Making a connection is critical. Great that technology helped you do this.

  3. Exactly Beth. If you can personalize a conversation, you make the conversation that much more important to the person you are selling to. Social media in general is a great way to find connection points.

  4. Pingback: Miguel A. Llano's Blog » Blog Archive » The Biz Dev Side of LinkedIn; Part II

  5. Pingback: Miguel A. Llano's Blog » Blog Archive » How I Love Twitter, Let Me Count The Ways

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