Tglobal networkechnology is helpful, but the personal delivers. Here’s how not to use LinkedIn for your business-development.

LinkedIn is a terrific sales tool. We learn about a prospect’s current business, where they used to work, where they went to school, their interests, travels, and how we’re connected.

Leverage Your Business Development

LinkedIn is one way to connect, and selling is about connections. Here are three LinkedIn sales tips to leverage your connections and your time on social media. These are not negotiable. Show up as the sales professional you are.

(For more on why relationships still rule, read, “Toss the Technology”.)

Here’s how to use LinkedIn:

1. Include your photo: I want to see who you are. People do business with people. Make sure you have a business-ready photo, and not one on the beach with a margarita in your hand.

2. Personalize your invitation: Your goal is to connect—person-to-person. Let me know why you want to connect. One or two sentences will do. It just takes a few seconds. Do not use:

    • Since you are a person I trust, I wanted to invite you to join my network on LinkedIn (You don’t know me, so why would you trust me. Better yet, why would I trust you?)
    • I’d like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn. (Sure you would, but why?)
    • “So and so” has indicated you’re a friend (I don’t know you. I’m not your friend.)

3. Always reply with a personal message when you accept an invitation. Tell them why your think the connection is valuable, offer them an article or tool from your website, or offer to help with your expertise. (Yes, I know that means “free,” but sharing your knowledge helps others and truly demonstrates that you value the connection.)

I invite you to connect with me on LinkedIn if you think our connection would be valuable to both of us. It would be great to get to know you.

What’s Your Sales Connection?

Tell me about your small-world story, personal referral, or sales connection story. When you use referrals as your business-development strategy, you’ll have so many great stories to tell, you won’t know where to start!