When I look back on the last year of my business I can clearly see that the majority of the new business gained in 2012 has come directly from LinkedIn.

This is where my results have come from this year:

45% LinkedIn
20% Referrals
5% Speaking
25% Direct sales
5% In-person networking
0% Paid Advertising
0% SEO (did this myself)

Now, as I provide consulting services direct sales don’t really work – you can’t ‘sell’ someone consulting – they have to be looking for a solution first.

Now let’s look at the time I spent on sales and marketing and how this breaks down.

55% In-person networking
25% Direct sales
10% LinkedIn
5% Speaking
5% Managing advertising and SEO

LinkedIn does not take that much time and it is possible to target specific businesses and people. In-person networking is very time consuming. Direct sales are key but it does depend on the business and professional services do not really suit direct sales in the same way other products or services might. Speaking is great because I essentially get to ‘pitch’ to a room of people for twenty minutes or and hour! Advertising and SEO – easy to spend money but results are uncertain.

Now lets look at the money spent (not including time)

60% Networking (memberships, lunches, etc)
30% Paid Advertising, SEO
10% Direct sales (travel, entertainment)
0% Speaking
0% LinkedIn

Networking is not expensive but it does add up and it does take a large amount of time. SEO and paid advertising are a big hole – throw all the money you want!

My LinkedIn approach is a simple one.

1) I have written I profile that I hope people find interesting and that reflects my wide business experience. I provide links to my websites and my blog, which hopefully support the fact that I have good ideas and am passionate about what I do for businesses.

2) I connect with as many people as possible – they more the merrier!

3) I funnel all my blogs writing, tweets, newsletters and announcements through my LinkedIn account.

4) I am active in as many London based groups as possible.

5) When I make a connection, I engage, determine if the relationship has ‘legs’ and then move the relationship along, a LinkedIn connection, a coffee, a proposal, and then business. This is the selling part and what most people miss. They do all the networking stuff but cannot, don’t remember or don’t want to close.

6) ABC! Always Be Closing! Identify if the relationship has business potential and if so then close! If not, then perhaps this contact could refer business, be a source of industry information or even a good friend – that is all good stuff!

Web, Blog, Social media

I have rarely got business as a result of someone having independently found my website and then contacted me – that is probably reflective of the type of business that I provide. People tend to read a post, a blog post, a tweet then they read my website then contact me to learn more.

My mistakes

Posting without engagement. My bad! I like to write and it can be too easy to just push the share button and post in fifty different groups. This is a great tool but it is always important to engage!

Not engaging and moving the relationship along. I am sure that I have missed many opportunities. I have certainly gone after the obvious but not followed and developed more. This is where I will spend more time in the future.

Not working for you?

If LinkedIn is not working for you then you:

1) Are not truly engaging with people – selling is not engaging!

2) Have not invested enough time.

3) Don’t know how to close. Networking is filled with people who just want to chat. If that is you then you will never get business here!