LinkedIn can be an invaluable tool when you’re in sales and looking for introductions and connections within companies you’re prospecting. One effective way of achieving this can be through growing your LinkedIn connections! You don’t necessarily require a 1st level connection, sometimes an effective introduction can be made with 2nd or even 3rd level connections.

Here are some basic tactics to get you started in growing your network:

#1: Get active in LinkedIn groups.

Use the LinkedIn search function to find groups that are relevant to your industry and what you’re selling. When you’re in a sales field it makes sense to join a few different kinds of groups:

  • Groups relevant and/or related to your industry. This is the obvious one that most people get involved with and it makes sense. But we as sales executives need to take it a step further:
  • Groups where your customers and prospects hang out. This is the category most sales executives on LinkedIn do not consider. You can join groups that your customers and prospects have joined as well to see what topics are important to them. Who is posting the questions and what positions do they hold? What information are they looking for? What lingo do they use that you can pick up on to speak their language? Joining these types of groups can be a treasure trove of information to you in terms of both prospective contacts as well as prospecting data.

If you’re new to groups they are a forum where others will post questions and you can get involved by posting answers or post your own questions. From there you might see some users whom you don’t know and will want to connect with. If they work in the same circles as you do chances are they might be able to assist you with getting introductions. The key here of course is to give value first with your posts. Remember your posts can be in the form of questions to the group or answering questions from someone else within that group.

#2 Connect With Key People

When you find some key people you want to connect with who have no idea who you are other than reading your LinkedIn posts then you should include a personal note with your invite request. A little note like “Hey I really enjoyed reading your post on XYZ, it really helped”. Or “Hi Joe, I’m a longtime reader of your blog and LinkedIn posts, hoping we can connect on here”. This will make you stand out so much from the LinkedIn invites that people send to others, making the recipients think “Who is this person? Why are they contacting me and what do they want? What’s in it for me?”

#3: “People You May Know” Section

This one should go without saying but hit up the “People You May Know” section on the sidebar of your LinkedIn home page. LinkedIn does a good job of making suggestions and compiles the suggestions as a result of who you’re connected with currently or who you have in your email contacts with the email you’re using with LinkedIn. Don’t be surprised when you see a contact from your email address provider showing up on your LinkedIn “People You May Know” suggestions.

#4: Use the “Network” Link

Also obvious is the “Network” link at the top. This gives you options to reach out and see who you can connect with based on email contacts, as well as an “Alumni” section to help you find people you went to school with, worked with and you can even filter the search down on what they do for a living.

#5: Be a LION

LION stands for LinkedIn Open Networker. This is an option for you to explore and see if it’s right for you. LION is not a feature of LinkedIn but rather something you can advertise in the summary or heading sections of your LinkedIn profile. Being a LION communicates that you will accept all invitations from others. There are groups you can join on LinkedIn that are for the purpose of networking or you can just advertise that you’re a LION on your profile. Being a LION might not be for everyone but for some people it can have some advantages:

  • you can quickly add hundreds or thousands of people to your network.
  • Your profile will be seen by many more individuals as well so if you’re looking to promote yourself on LinkedIn this can be one great way to do it

Go ahead and experiment with these tactics and see what works for you. Tactics that are effective will be slightly different for everyone as it depends on what their goals are, personal preference, what position they hold and what they’re selling.


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