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36 The PCB Magazine • December 2016 mated the number in North America was 17,000. Don't tell me you have no prospects. LinkedIn's database is better than yours. 2. I know all the key people at those prospect accounts. These days more people are involved in the vendor selection process. Manufacturing people. Operations people. Product design people. Qual- ity people, and of course Purchasing people. And using LinkedIn, you can find them. Who wants to risk being shut out because they have only one point of contact at a prospect company? 3. I am absolutely on top of all the personnel changes that can affect our business at those prospect companies. Gee, that must take a lot of work. Now in my case, I set up a LinkedIn search, save it, and LinkedIn tells me whenever someone leaves or arrives at my prospect companies. I don't have all that time you do to be checking in at those companies all the time to stay on top of those so I just set and forget. 4. I am extremely effective at cold e-mail and cold calls. Congratulations. I know that good e-mail and cold call campaigns get response rates in the low single digits. So if you contact 100 strang- ers, you get two appointments. I use Linke- dIn InMail plus some tricks I know to contact strangers using LinkedIn. I run several different prospecting methodologies using LinkedIn. My worst one yields a 17% response rate, or five or six times yours. My thinking is, if there is some- one I want to talk to, I want to have a variety of methods at my disposal that give me a 40 or 50% chance of reaching them. Cold e-mail and cold calling with a 3% response rate doesn't ap- peal to me at all. To be fair, my methods tend to be more time consuming, but they are much more effective. I have one strategy that I use for unsolicited mes- sages on LinkedIn that I have been using for two years. My response rate wanders back and forth between 60% and 70%. Yes, you read that correctly, between 60% and 70%. Why? Three reasons, and this sums up how I use LinkedIn effectively and how I coach my clients: 1. Psychology: I understand the psychol- ogy behind sending messages to people on LinkedIn and what works and what doesn't. 2. Personalize: Everyone wants to au- tomate their messaging. "Send a thousand e- mails. We may get 15 responses." I personalize and tailor every single outreach message. They send 1,000 to get 15, I send 20 or 25 messages to get 15 responses. 3. Practice: In this strategy, I send a couple of these messages every day—for the past two years. So I have sent around 1,000 of these mes- sages. And when you do something 1,000 times, you get really good at it. Several times a month I will get people telling me that my message was the best one they have ever seen on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a tool. It's an awesome tool, but still just a tool. And like any tool, to get the most out of it, you need to understand how to use it. That's where most people fail. They know how to do a basic search for prospects, but not a really effective one. They know that they can send messages using LinkedIn, but they just send awful naked sales pitches that get ignored. If you don't know how to use the tool properly you will just wind up with a mess. When I was based in Chicago in the late '80s, trying to open the Midwest territory for my employer, I used to dream of a database that had all of my prospects in it—one that would give me a total view into my territory's pros- pects. Well, LinkedIn gave it to me. LinkedIn is a prospect database that doesn't go bad. It's a prospect database that updates itself. PCB Bruce Johnston is an authority on using LinkedIn to increase B2B sales. He has more than 30 years' experience in high-tech sales and management and more than 10 years working in the PCB industry. To read past columns or to contact him, click here. 4 REASONS WHY EVERY SALES REP'S TOOLKIT SHOULD INCLUDE LINKEDIN

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