Charlie Van Derven
The CORE4 Advantage: Four Steps to Business Development Success
The journey to client is a unique experience for all your prospects, and you need a business development strategy as unique as your service and expertise. As our industry continues to embrace and grow with social media and content marketing, now is the time to start building and nurturing the community that will grow your practice for decades to come. Stop buying leads and start developing lasting business relationships that will create new opportunities for the duration of your career.
Long term growth requires long term vision, and no one knows this better than you. Investing in an experience that brings you more qualified prospects that are interested in doing business with you just makes sense for the future of your business. Take steps on a more effective path to prospecting using LinkedIn connections that share your personal interests and business goals.
Step 1 - Understand Who You Want to Attract
It starts with AUDIENCE. You’ve heard for years that you need to understand who you want to prospect. Choosing a narrow niche is the first step in creating a professional community. The more narrow your niche, the more personal and relevant your communication becomes.
Segments such as medical professionals, government employees or corporate executives are target markets, they are not niches. Go deeper by targeting medical professionals at a specific hospital or corporate executives in a given industry.
Go deep and go narrow. It won’t take long before your brand and your communication speaks to the specific needs of the community you choose.
Step 2 – Build the Right Community
With social platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook available for professional use, building the right community is simple, if you invest just a bit of time each day.
For those of you seeking to build a community of other professionals, LinkedIn is essential. Whether you want to attract plan sponsors, young professionals, corporate executives, CPAs, attorneys, business owners or another professional audience, building a community of professionals that share your personal interests and business goals is key in creating a successful network that can grow with your business.
Your understanding and use of LinkedIn Sales Navigator is helpful in building a professional community. Choose the right criteria in the query tool and you will find thousands of qualifying professionals. Then, send 20 connection invitations EVERY DAY. Be consistent and thoughtful with your messaging and your community will grow quickly.
Step 3 – Share Content that Speaks to Your Audience
The CONTENT piece of the journey to client is crucial for prospects, because it sets the stage for the mood of the experience. Your sales techniques are a whole vibe and you need to be approachable, useful and relevant to the community you choose to serve. People want to do business with people they KNOW, LIKE AND TRUST, so you need to provide messages and content that promote that feeling.
The content marketing opportunity on LinkedIn is HUGE. In the United States and Canada, LinkedIn has more than 3 billion content impressions every week. All of this exposure and less than 2% of the LinkedIn network shares content consistently.
Not all content is created equal and our industry is notoriously BAD at content marketing. Stop sharing the pre-approved content the firm provides. Your prospects and clients want to connect with the real you, so they can grasp the truly unique ways your service and expertise can benefit them.
If you truly understand the niche you are prospecting, creating content that speaks to their greatest concerns should be simple. In creating that content, follow one simple rule to gain much greater exposure within your network; share NATIVE content.
NATIVE content is built to be consumed right on the platform. LINKING OUT OF LINKEDIN IS A NO-NO. Keep your LinkedIn posts native to LinkedIn by formatting images correctly and keeping third party links in the comments. Your posts will gain much more exposure than the pre-approved third party links that get limited exposure and less interaction.
Step 4 – Understand and Organize your Community
NOW YOU CAN INFLUENCE. You need to find professionals who are interested in your journey, and LinkedIn prospecting is the perfect vehicle to accommodate everyone you want to bring with you.
TAKE CONTROL. As your community grows from dozens to hundreds and then to thousands, it is essential that you know who is ready for a business conversation. There are two simple strategies to understand which community members are ready for direct outreach.
1. Host Frequent Webinars – For attendees, your webinars are information sessions conducted by a trusted expert. For you, your webinars are events designed to show you which community members trust you and are ready for direct outreach. Each and every webinar attendee needs follow-up.
2. Utilize a marketing capable CRM – CRM technology has come a long way. And, while there are great industry CRMs to track clients and their accounts, you’re looking for an automation platform designed specifically to nurture prospects.
The best CRMs will score each record according to:
· who opens your emails and clicks on links
· who interacts with your social media content
· who visits your website
The right CRM will ensure that as you continue to nurture your growing community, you are following up with those community members that KNOW YOU, LIKE YOU AND TRUST YOU.
Business Development continues to evolve. LinkedIn provides countless opportunities to connect with professionals and grow your network. Harness the power of Influencer Marketing to make bold changes in the future of your business by making quality connections, nurturing quality relationships, and leveraging complementary technologies to meet more qualified prospects who are looking for an advisor just like you.