One of my favorite tasks as The Phone Lady is working with busy entrepreneurs who are traveling – booking appointments for them with potential clients in specific cities. I love the challenge of this work – the research element, the tight deadlines, all the various cultural differences I encounter – whether I’m calling Vancouver or Belfast. 

This past week, one of these projects took me into new territory, increasing my knowledge of the relationship between social media and the telephone, and showing me that LinkedIn is way more powerful than I realized. I am excited to share this learning curve with you! 

The client has an award-winning, fast-growing business. A trip to Montreal at the end of May is focused on meeting with potential independent sales representatives. Because of my absence from the office this week, I had two days to complete the project. 

I started with a simple Google search, using phrases like “sales agent”, “sales agency”, “independent sales rep”.  A list of sales agencies did appear, but there were very few and they all seemed to be located in the same neighbourhood in Montreal. It occurred to me that perhaps they were all very specialized, servicing Montreal’s bustling clothing industry. This turned out to be true so – 7 leads, no results. 

LinkedIn was my next stop. For those of you that aren’t familiar, you can do an Advanced Search in LinkedIn and narrow your results to a very specific geographic area. It also allows you to search by keyword. Working with a downtown Montreal postal code and using the phrase “independent sales”, I was able to find 7 individuals that might be a good fit for my client’s needs. 

But I wasn’t “connected” with any of these leads so … what to do? 

Well, for 6 of them I simply sent them an invitation to connect and included a very short message. It has to be short because when you are sending a message in LinkedIn to someone that is not one on your contacts, you are limited to just over 140 characters. 

Here’s the message I sent: 

“Contacting you on behalf of a client, an award-winning company here in Nova Scotia, Growth indicates they need sales agency representation in Montreal. They will be in Montreal beginning May 22. Can we connect to discuss the possibility of your meeting with my client for 30 minutes?” 

Much to my delight, 5 of the individuals replied. Through additional email messages I was able to connect by phone with 3 of them and 2 of them have confirmed meetings with my client later this month. Yeah! 

I wasn’t finished with LinkedIn yet. Another lead appeared with a background in the same industry as my client, but because of the selected privacy settings, I wasn’t able to send them a direct message. I needed to be introduced by someone we both knew. 

I’ll admit that I hesitated. I hadn’t done this before. It felt somewhat intrusive to send a message to a contact of mine asking them to introduce me to someone else in Montreal. Then I listened to my standard “get it done” advice – “What’s the worse than can happen? That they’ll say no – and that’s fine.” 

So, I sent off the message and within the day, I was introduced and officially connected to another contact in Montreal. We spoke on the phone the following day, set up a meeting and marveled together at how LinkedIn had worked for us. Neither one of us had used, or perhaps even understood, the third-party introduction. 

I’m very excited about exploring the possibilities this delivers to all of us in terms of business growth. I’ll certainly keep you informed of what I learn. 

And, ironically, this whole adventure fits in perfectly with a workshop Melanie Taljaard and I are presenting together on Tuesday May 29 – Spreading The Word. We will provide you with the knowledge you need to both understand and embrace the connections between your telephone and your online presence. 

Consider joining us for the day. You will uncover amazing new ways to grow your business. 

Details and the registration form can be accessed below, or follow this link: http://www.thephonelady.ca/registration/

Know that I won’t be responding to voicemail or email until Monday May 14, so if you have immediate questions or comments about this workshop please contact Melanie at melanie@moreinstore.ca or 902-483-4811. 

Happy phonework everyone. I’ll post again on my return from …. Paris, France!!!

 

 

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5 Comments

  1. Anita Hovey says: May 6, 2012 • 17:35:07

    Best example of LinkedIn success I’ve heard yet! Congratulations Mary Jane.

    Reply

    • The Phone Lady says: May 6, 2012 • 22:33:07

      Thanks, Anita. That means a lot coming from you.

      Reply

  2. Lars Willum says: May 6, 2012 • 17:52:52

    Great article + Advice as usual. Enjoy Paris in the Spring. Warm croissant and Cafe-au-lait while taking a stroll in Jardin de Luxembourg. Wish I could join you:)

    Reply

    • The Phone Lady says: May 6, 2012 • 22:32:38

      Thank you, Lars. Hope to talk to you soon! mj

      Reply

  3. Vaneesa Burns says: May 7, 2012 • 09:41:15

    Hi Mary Jane – LinkedIn is a fabulous prospecting tool. I use it quite a bit and have made a number of appointments and connections. It is especially helpful, as you said, when trying to find the right contact. Great article and blog. Thanks!

    Reply

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