lady surrounded by people images

If you’re a business owner and you have a profile on LinkedIn, you are probably hoping that it will give you a network that will spit out new clients or customers and help your business grow.

Here’s the bad news – it won’t unless you put some effort into it.

And the good news – it will take less time than attending a breakfast meeting each week.

Let’s assume you’ve already optimised your profile (or read this first) and you’re ready to build some useful relationships.  Here are my top tips:

  1. Know what your ideal client looks like – in as much detail as possible. If you know what you’re looking for, it’s much easier to find them.  If you’re struggling with this, look at the profile of your best client and look for more like them.
  2. Use the search function to find good matches. Click the search box and the magnifying glass, without entering any information.  This will take you to the search page.  Choose people – and all filters.

You can search your 1st and 2nd level connections, locations – by country, companies (current and past, industries and one or two other filters.  You can no longer search by job title with a free account, you’ll need to pay for that privilege.

  1. Do your homework. Look at the profiles of the list your search produces to see if they’re a good match.  If you’re not already a first level connection, make the connection.  TIP:  Use CTRL/click to open a profile in a new browser window, so you retain your list to come back to.
  2. Check out their groups. When you find a good match take a look at the groups they’re members of and join two or three relevant groups where there are lots of similar people.  Check the group is active.  Activity is more important than thousands of members.

Monitor the group and be visible by being helpful.  If you post comments, make sure you return regularly to respond to anything people say.  Don’t sell at people (some groups will kick you out if you try to do this, but even if they don’t it doesn’t impress anyone.)  Your aim is to build a reputation as a friendly expert who gives good advice.

  1. Talk to people. If you’re already connected, but haven’t had much of an exchange, start a conversation using the message facility.  Be authentic and be interested in them and their business. 

Follow these steps consistently and you’ll find you’re having better conversations with the right people – and some of these will turn into great clients.