1. How you can benefit from LinkedIn depends on the product and how you are selling. You need to think about what you are trying to achieve, then use those parts of LinkedIn that will get you to your goal. If you are a manufacturer and want to find manufacturers reps, the Manufacturer’s Rep group in LinkedIn would be a great place to post. If you are a rep, this group would be a good group for you to create relationships with other reps. This could lead to learning opportunities in various areas including knowledge of lines of product that you might be interested in.

    If you want to find customers on LinkedIn, the idea would be to figure out where your customers would be hanging out, building relationships and learning. If you sell to automotive people, you might want to join some of the automotive groups. You will find that people did NOT join those groups because the wanted to read advertising, so you might want to think of some valuable contribution that you can give to the group so that potential customers in the group start seeing you as an expert. Maybe you can start a discussion about some part of the business that might benefit many people in the group. Give some free help to those struggling, and things will start do develop.

    Want a more direct method to use LinkedIn? Define who your best customer would be. Go to one of the data bases that lists all the companies in the US and create a list of companies that would be your best target accounts. Use your network in LinkedIn to get introduced to people in the company. Meet with them and learn about the company. Explain to them how you can benefit their company, then ask them to introduce you to the correct decision maker. As you do this you are continuing to build your LinkedIn network in the direction you want to go. When people come to you for help getting introduced, really put out an effort to help them. Go beyond what they are asking for. A helpful attitude towards others that need help will usually result in benefits coming back to you.

    Patrick Johansenj

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