Editor’s Note: JHC readers may not work for medical products companies, but they have plenty of customers – administrators, all the people who use the products for which they contract, and the vendors with whom they negotiate contracts. Their credibility is on the line every day. Sales coach Brian Sullivan spends most of his time working with salespeople and sales executives from medical products manufacturers and distributors. But he’s got something to say to contracting professionals as well.
In today’s electronic environment, people are smart enough to identify many of their own problems and then find their own answers online. And when they go searching for the answers, they can do it on their own time, when their mind is clear. The most important part of the equation is … they WANT your information. So how do we get them to want our information?
When used correctly, LinkedIn can transform cold prospects into warm meetings. It can also give you the “inside scoop” on what others – including vendors – are doing, while keeping you informed of industry trends. Recently on my weekly radio show, I spoke with LinkedIn author and expert Wayne Breitbarth, who shared his LinkedIn “Gotta Do’s” with me. Below is a list of things to help increase your list of contacts and prospects.
- Gotta get a LinkedIn account and begin inviting friends, colleagues and current customers to join your network. The power of LinkedIn comes from having a ton of people, with a bunch of relationships. Dedicate 10 minutes each day to doing this. It will pay off.
- Gotta use Advanced Search Functions by using keywords to search for names and titles of prospects. For example, I just logged into LinkedIn, went to ADVANCED SEARCH in the upper right corner of the screen. Then I typed in “Physician” and asked LinkedIn to find me a list of physicians within a 75-mile radius of my house.
After searching, it returned a list of hundreds of physicians at some of the biggest clinics and hospitals in my area. After clicking on one of the prospects, I learned more about him than I could EVER dream of learning in a cold call. Next, I noticed one physician is LinkedIn with two of my industry friends. In addition, I found his website that contained his e-mail. I now have the option of sending him an e-mail as well as an invitation that would make him want to join my network.
When reaching out, make your message personal and one that communicates the value you can bring, while not sounding like you are starving for his or her cooperation with a pending contract. Something like: “Dr. Smith, I have worked with (common connection in the medical staff) on contracts in the past. Would love to connect!” From here, you can contact your mutual connection, get more information about the prospect and even ask them for a further introduction.
- Gotta beef up your profile by including important keywords. This will help others find you.
- Gotta join LinkedIn Groups. This will allow you to learn from like-minded people as well as help expose you to new prospects.
- Gotta get in or get out! Stop dabbling.
Once you realize what a great tool it can be, you will have no problem dedicating at least 10 minutes a day. Remember, you owe it to your marketplace to spread your message, and now is the time to understand how to use LinkedIn better than your competitor.