As any savvy networking marketing/direct sales gal knows, some of the most skilled and motivated people you can recruit into your team are business professionals (corporate execs, small business owners, real estate agents, etc).

Generally, you can only find these kinds of people by attending “biz mixers” or live networking events in your area. However, thanks to the internet, you can now connect and build relationships with these kinds or prospects from the comfort of your home!

There are plenty of social media tools and platforms out there, but if you want to recruit experienced and capable business professionals into your team, then nothing is better than LinkedIn.

LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional online networking site. Founded in 2002, this website was specifically designed to help business professionals network and refer each other business (versus other sites which are designed to help you socialize, find friends, cultivate a large group of followers, etc).

LinkedIn currently has over 400 million users (128 million of which are in the U.S.). The site receives 106 million monthly users from over 200 countries and territories. People use LinkedIn for various reasons; to find a new job, hire new employees, or to connect with others in their current profession or area of expertise.

With so many people using LinkedIn, it can be a fabulous website for you to find new customers and business builders (especially if you’re looking for driven people who are self-motivated, already have solid business skills and are likely hungry for financial AND time freedom!)

Here’s a few important tips to get you started:

Before You Engage, Create an Engaging Profile

As with any social media or online platform, having a great profile is essential.  On LinkedIn, your profile serves as a type of resume. It tells people who you are, what you do, how you do it, what you have to offer, as well as who you follow, what groups you’re involved in, etc.

It’s important to spend quality time filling your profile out, and to keep it updated on a regular basis. It’s also essential to follow these profile guidelines:
::    Upload a professional photo – This is not the time to show you with your kids, your dog, or on vacation. You don’t have to wear a suit, but make sure you look like a savvy network marketing/direct sales professional.

::    Use the summary to generate attention – The “summary” area of your profile is a great place to share a few details about your experience and what you do (example – health and wellness coach, home-based entrepreneur, etc).

::    More importantly, make sure your message clearly communicates to others how you can help them (by focusing on the BENEFITS of your product or business). For example, “I help busy professionals create a home-based business that allows them the chance to ditch their commute, have a very flexible schedule, make great money, and have more time for fun and family”. Or, if you sell health or weight loss products, you might say “I help stressed out business professionals get fit, have more energy and stay healthy”. You DON’T want to be too “sales-y” or promotional, but you DO want to clearly communicate how you help people.

::    Have a complete profile – Be sure to fill out every part of your profile, from the skills section to the volunteer section. You want to showcase your abilities and knowledge, and give people a complete picture of your professional self. Profiles without pictures or that aren’t fully completed are less likely to be viewed or invited to connect.

::    Update, Update, Update – Take some time every few months to give your profile a refresh. Move things around, write up a new summary, add new skills, etc. Show that you are an active participant and are always striving to improve your biz sense and experience.

Join & Actively Participate in LinkedIn Groups

One of the BEST features of LinkedIn is the opportunity to meet new people through joining a Linked Group or Groups. There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn, in many different industries, niches, or interests – great places to network and find some new contacts.

You can search for groups in your local area or by interest. You can join groups for network marketers/direct sales professionals if you are looking to network with others in your field, or you can join groups where your audience/leads are most likely to be found.

Ideally, you want to join a group that will contain your IDEAL prospects. For example, if you’d love to recruit more real estate agents into your team, you can do a search on “real estate agents” and find plenty of these groups. If you’re looking for professional women (like pharmaceutical reps, working moms, employment recruiters etc) you can do the same.

Before joining a group, check to see if the participants are active and continually posting or engaging with others. And don’t stop with joining. Become an active member. Jump into the conversations, ask questions, offer insights or comments where you can. Just like “networking live” you want to be friendly and helpful, and look for the people who are a fit for your products or opportunity.

Make Online Connections That Become Offline Leads

Once you’ve signed up with LinkedIn, the site will show you people you already know. This makes connecting easier, but you can also do a search for new connections. If you see someone you want to get to know (who is connected to someone in your network), LinkedIn makes it easy for you to “Ask for an Introduction.”

Though connecting with someone on LinkedIn isn’t the same as connecting at an in-person networking event, the rules of etiquette are similar:
::    Always sends a personalized connect message, even if you know the person.
::    Once you’re connected send a thank you note, regardless of who invited who to connect.
::    Stay connected by commenting on their posts, congratulating them on an accomplishment, sharing an article or tip they might find useful.
::    Don’t start off a connection by being salesy. Build the relationship first.
::    Keep the connection on the human level. Offer to help or be a resource.

Key Networking Tip!

If you reach out to your new connections with an invitation to check out your product/biz opportunity right out of the gate, you’ll likely be ignored (or get a polite “no thanks”).

Instead, connect with new leads and offer to help them. Ask about their business and what kinds of referrals or connections they’re looking to add to their network. They will likely return the favor, which can lead to a more natural opportunity for you to share more about what you do, who you’re looking to connect with, etc.

This “how can I help” approach is a more elegant way to engage new prospects. You may find they want to find out more about your products or opportunity, or at least will be willing to connect you with some leads from their own network.

Create a Daily or Weekly Strategy for Connecting and Engaging

Remember your end goal of using LinkedIn is to generate new leads. You want to turn your online conversations into offline conversations. The best way to accomplish this is by using LinkedIn on a regular basis.

You don’t have to make new connections, post content, or engage with groups or your connections every single day. However, you should schedule LinkedIn time in your calendar a few days each week. Block off some time to reach out or post. The more active you are, the more visible your will be, and the greater chance you will have of finding those savvy professionals who can help to ignite the growth of your team.

By: Sonia Stringer

My Name is Ali Ghavami. I'm PhD Techno-Entrepreneurship and MSc statistics. My career is University Lecturer, Business Consultant and Market Analyst. In this page, I'm going to share with you, my useful application contents which are the result of my many years experiences and knowledge in launching startups and consulting to over 30.000 entrepreneurs and companies in Iran, Turkey, Malaysia, Canada, UK, Australia and also membership in "American Marketing Association", "Iranian eCommerce Association", "Iran Specialists Association", and "Iranian Statistical Society".

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