I am an avid cyclist. For over 30 years, I have enjoyed building, maintaining and riding both road and mountain bikes. I have learned, particularly with the higher-end bikes, there is a perfect tool to install and tune the various components – pedal, stems, cranks, cones, spokes, tires, derailleurs, brakes. You can’t make do with a set of pliers, flat head screw driver and adjustable wrench. You need tools designed specifically for the job. And, that is what LinkedIn is for professionals who want to generate leads and build relationships with potential clients. LinkedIn is the perfect tool to prospect and become a thought leader in your chosen field.
If you charge hourly for your time, you need to make the most of the time you have available to network and market yourself. LinkedIn enables you to network anytime, anywhere. You don’t have to wait for a suitable sponsored or referral event. You can network from the comfort of your desk, at home after hours or even in a hotel when you travel. And, LinkedIn is working for you even when you aren’t. It is like a neon sign that is on 24/7 every day of the year telling your connections what you do, who you do it for and why interested parties need to consider you for the job. It is your on-line “elevator speech” telling a convincing story that differentiates you from your competitors. Lastly, if you are a reluctant sales person, there is no better way to promote yourself. It is much easier than “cold calling” and makes your first meeting much easier.
If you don’t have a LinkedIn Profile, you need one. It is more important than your company’s website, even if you have a bio on it. LinkedIn is dynamic. You update your Profile with new information about yourself and share relevant material of interest to your connections. And, you can exchange eMails with your connections and participate in on-line user groups where you can demonstrate your interests and area of expertise.