Lead Generation with LinkedIn: Even Your Grandmother Can Do It

by Dan Sherman on Apr 12, 2012

Every time someone says to me LinkedIn is too confusing or too hard to learn, I think about an eighty year old grandmother in New Jersey who I recently coached who is having success on LinkedIn.

And she can barely send an email.

This began when a childhood friend of mine called me and told me his mother had written a book on the subject of school nurses, and wanted to market it online.

He thought LinkedIn would be perfect for her, so I contacted her and set up a phone coaching session. Together this grandmother of seven with limited computer skills and I retooled her profile and had her join a LinkedIn Group and make one post.

The next day she called me breathless with excitement. “Dan, a school administrator in Arizona wrote me and I sold him a book!” she said. I was worried that I was going to give this little old lady a heart attack. The point is: If she can have success on LinkedIn, you can too.

It boils down to this

With over 150 million professionals now on LinkedIn, and about one million joining every week, chances are very good there is someone on the site who needs your products and services. All you need to do is figure out:

A. What do you have to sell?

And B. Who is your most likely buyer?

Back To Grandma

Let’s take the case of my grandma client. Her book is about school nurses (she is a retired nurse and nursing college professor). So we needed to create a very simple “ad” for her book, and the best place to do that is in the summary of your profile.

In your summary, you tell people who you are, how you can add value to their lives and businesses, what you provide, and how to reach you. For my client, we made the summary a very simple description of her book, who it would benefit, how to buy it, and how to reach her. Your summary can be much more extensive, and include examples of how you’ve helped other people and organizations.

Buyer Persona time

Next, you need to figure out who is your most likely buyer. When I asked my client who should read her book, she said she wanted school administrators to read it so they would oppose budget cuts which are eliminating school nurses. So we went to the Group Directory (Groups > Group Directory) and typed in ‘school administrators’ in the keyword search box.

The first group that came up was the 4,000 strong American Association of School Administrators. I had her join the group, then start a discussion post.

When she asked me what to write, I told her that question headlines work well since they engage the reader. I had her write “Do You Realize the Importance of School Nurses?” as the title, and fill in the post with a description of her book and how to reach her. This led to the school official in Arizona contacting her immediately for a copy.

Marketing Through LinkedIn Group Activity

Now, there are over 1 million groups on LinkedIn, and you can join up to 50. So your goal is join groups where your prospective clients are congregating and starting and joining in discussions. Then message those group members you want to network with and do business with. The Groups feature is one of many different lead generation methods on LinkedIn, and certainly one of the most powerful.

There you have it: If a grandma with zero computer skills can make a sale her first day on LinkedIn, you can generate as much business as you can handle. Decide what it is you sell and who your target is, make your profile value-oriented to the reader and then network with your prospects.

Who knows? You may very well be my next success story.

Image source: Shutterstock.com hip grandma

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Post Author

Dan Sherman is a LinkedIn Expert, Speaker and Coach, and author of Maximum Success with LinkedIn. He is an in-demand speaker for conferences and corporate events on the subject of LinkedIn lead generation. His website is www.LinkedSuccess.com, where...

  • Amandah

    “So your goal is join groups where your prospective clients are congregating and starting and joining in discussions.” This is a good point. Many of us join groups to connect with other professionals within our industries, but we don’t think about joining groups where ‘our prospective’ clients congregate. Finding and joining those groups is a good way to grow your business and develop business relationships.

    By the way … Dolores’ book would be perfect for my sister and the company she works for in Ohio. My sister is a medical assistant and works as a clinic aid in a couple of schools. She had a job with the Cuyahoga County Board of Health, but it was cut. My sister is more than a clinic aid. She’s a mentor, surrogate mom, life coach, etc. She does a lot for students. I wish Dolores the best of luck with her book! 

  • Noufel

    Very Very Very useful. Thank you Dan and Thank you Neeraj Shah of BNI, India for sharing this on FB.

  • Amnuai Beckenham

    As someone who has had limited education, lives in a remote Thai village, with limited computer and internet experience as well English not as my main language and finally surrounded by 150 million well educated professionals, I thought Linkedin would NEVER be the place for me.

    However, I filled out my profile, including the limited education opportunities, and believe it or not, I now have more than 1500 connections, a company page and so many very supportive and helpful business relationships.

    In addition, I also have followed lots of your advice here on Linkedin and just recently purchased your excellent book “Maximum Success on Linkedin” (and yes I will now have to really edit my profile)

    I found many wonderful connections simply by sharing in answers or in groups as many ideas as possible about how we in our Thai village business have handled specific situations,  

    So Dan I can truly relate to your grandma!