“LinkedIn is nothing more than an online, unlimited rolodex.” – Jim Holmes
On an icy day in February, Epiphany interviewed local businessman Jim Holmes about his secrets to making LinkedIn work for him and how it generates new business for his company. We asked Jim to share his strategy for success in how he uses this online business tool, and he was more than gracious to share his own personal daily routine. (Which he claims only takes a mere 15 minutes each morning.) Check it out!
E: Ok Jim, so just what exactly do you do in there…the world of LinkedIn?
J: The first thing I look at is “Who has viewed my profile?” Most people don’t have time to surf in there—as if they have nothing to do. They are in that site for a reason. I want to know who is looking at my profile…then I send them a little note.
E: That sounds pretty old school, but from what we are learning from you…it works?
J: 50% of those never respond. But 50% of them do! I had one this morning that was from another state. He has a satellite office here in town and had viewed my profile. So, I made contact. I simply said, “Saw that you looked at my profile, if there is anything we can do to be of service, let me know.” It turned out that he was actually interested in some training for his office down here. He may have contacted me on his own, and then again, he may not have. I saved him a phone call…and it saved me from possibly losing an opportunity.
E: Ok, so what’s the second thing you do?
J. I click on My Connections. Thanks to LinkedIn’s algorithms, and mathematical formulas, anyone that has had a birthday, anniversary or has changed jobs, will pop up. I see it, and I respond. It can be something as simple as, “Congrats on 17 years in your company,” or, “Congratulations on the new position…” I probably wished six people happy birthday this morning. Three responded with a, “Thank you”. I am now on their radar. Should they or someone they know have a need, I am here. Basically, I am keeping my name top of mind. So simple. Doesn’t take long.
E: Top of Mind. At Epiphany we are constantly working to educate our team, and our clients, that this is the essence of good marketing. With that being said, what’s the third thing you do?
J: I respond to any messages that have come in through LinkedIn and any connection requests that are waiting my attention. Anyone that has endorsed me, I drop them a note and say “Thank you”. It’s not rocket science. It keeps me fresh, aware and engaged.
E: So, what exactly do you say when you reach out to these people?
J: I send them a direct “thank you” message. I request time to sit down for a cup of coffee or offer a phone conversation. I want to find out more about them, how to help them. Maybe ask them to let me know who they are looking to connect with, or simply return a courtesy.
E: That’s a pretty amazing routine. You really do that every morning?
J: Yeah. I do. The last thing I do, too, I pick one person from my connections that I want to do an in-depth, LinkedIn connection with and I swap with them. Here is what I mean: I send them an email saying that I’d like to spend 30 minutes with them on the phone, sharing my connections and making introductions that might be helpful to them. I get about three that respond back saying, “I’d love to do that, let’s schedule some time.” From that, I normally get about 15-20 introductions every week. From those 15-20, I will have 10-12 conversations and get 1-2 face to face meetings out of them. I don’t cold call anymore. Never did like it to begin with. I still do it occasionally, but just straight picking up the phone? I don’t do that anymore. By the way, there are actually more people than you realize that still do that. There are certain people…the only way you can get a hold of them is via the phone.
E: So, you’re saying you actually see an ROI (Return on Investment) for this discipline?
J: Yep, I do. I get about 1-2 new clients monthly for my business as a result of this process. Currently, it’s about 30-50% of my business. The other 50-60% is, of course, word of mouth.
Just so you know, I do the Premium version of LinkedIn. It’s about $30 a month. The advantages of going the premium level, are that you can do more internal emails. With the free version, you get about 5-10 a month, but with Premium you get about 25. You can do searches and store those searches…every week or two you receive an update.
For example: I have saved one particular search...I did a search on company presidents that were 75 miles of Nashville. Now, every week, I get an update on the LinkedIn profiles that have changed. The ones that include “president” in their profile now come to me. Realistically, it could be an Avon person or consulting company, but some of them are worth doing the research. It’s become my prospecting list that I get every week. Like a personal admin.
E: That’s truly remarkable and admirable. Do you have any best practices or tips or things to be aware of?
J: When it comes to connection requests, I accept anything except, 1) anything from overseas or, 2) a direct competitor.
E: Great tips, Jim. Thank you.. If you had one last thing to say to a business person who might not be quite sold on a LinkedIn strategy, what would be your parting words…?
J: Again, Top of Mind. LinkedIn raises my awareness to potential clients and keeps my brand out there. One last thing…every day I post something on LinkedIn. I’m not trying to sell a piece of business. The post might be a tip, you know, something free. Or maybe a link that I thought may be of interest to people, or something funny. This whole process takes me about 15 minutes a day, if that much. I have a calendar reminder set up. As soon as I have worked through my emails, the next thing on my agenda is to go to LinkedIn. At the end of 15 minutes, my alarm goes off. I then decide if I want to continue or if I’m just wasting time at that point. Am I investing in something that is getting me the business or not.
E: Excellent points, Jim. Thank you so much for sharing your secrets to a LinkedIn strategy that truly works. We appreciate you.
J: My pleasure.
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