Much has been written about LinkedIn as a lead identification and lead generation tool, and rightly so.
But it’s so much more than that.
It’s also a powerful research tool for those looking to develop new products or services or who wish to enter new markets.
One of my contacts, Zivana Anderson, found LinkedIn to be hugely beneficial when researching the market need for a new product for one of her clients.
After finding out the target market for the product, she used LinkedIn’s Advanced Search feature to identify those she wanted to talk to. She then sent an ‘expertise request’ to the people she wished to meet. They were all senior Heads of Department at major national and global corporations. 70% of those asked accepted her request.
They were all very generous and helpful with their time and spent much longer with her than she’d envisaged. As a result of her work, her client was able to establish the market need and had a clear line of communication with would be buyers.
Zivana’s advice to others seeking meetings with busy, senior professionals via LinkedIn:
1. Ensure your profile is complete and positions you well. It needs to lend credibility to your request and show that you are a professional.
2. When contacting the other person be really clear about what you’re doing and why, how long you want to meet for and the things you wish to find out. Be polite.
3. Don’t suggest a specific time. Say ‘at a time convenient to you’ so that you can get the person’s approval in principle.
4. Join a group that the other person belongs to so that you have the ability to email them using the free LinkedIn account.
This could be a great way to use LinkedIn if you’re looking to build profile in a particular industry sector or want to penetrate a new market. By emulating Zivana’s approach, you too could get in front of senior, hard to reach, decision makers.
Have you used LinkedIn as a research tool? How’s it helped you?