5 things you can do to your LinkedIn profile to generate leads.
LinkedIn best practices for connecting and doing business.
The #1 thing that manages and sustains rapid agency growth.
A unique interview process to get the right people in the right seat.
Lauren Davenport is finding her name on all kinds of “Best of” and “Top” Lists… and for good reason! At age 27, she is the CEO of Symphoni Media, the agency she founded just four years ago and is growing at the rate of 400% year over year since then. She credits her agency’s growth to some great agency PR and her A-list talent, but mostly to LinkedIn. In fact, she shared her story, including the growing pains these first four years plus how she landed a $500,000 project using LinkedIn.
Lauren got her start when, as a journalism major in college, she created a social networking internship for herself a local bar. (Yep, back then it was the social “network” and you needed a college email account to be a user!) The bar’s business increased significantly and so did the popularity of Lauren’s services. She grew her freelance work into a roster of 15 clients, but eventually decided it was time to leave her college town and branch out into the agency business… In four years she’s grown from a very small agency to a team of 30 with 400% revenue growth each year.
5 Steps to Generating New Agency Business on LinkedIn
Lauren has become a LinkedIn LEADER by using her profile for generating leads and converting them to clients. In fact, she landed a $500,000 project from her LinkedIn profile!
Lauren’s LinkedIn profile includes a promised ROI figure which her team calculates annually. In a new business meeting, the prospect client challenged that 500%+ ROI figure by offering up a $500,000 investment to see if her team could actually deliver on their claim. They did – and it was that simple.
So, here’s what you can do to your profile immediately:
Have the end user in mind. Quit treating your profile like an extension of your resume. Instead, gear it toward the end user. Think of the people you want to connect with and what they’d want to learn about you.
Change your title to an action oriented headline. Start with a verb that describes what you do. After our interview I changed my LinkedIn title: WAS: I’m a media company for digital agencies that want to grow and scale their profit. NOW: Scaling Digital Agencies Through Innovative Strategies and Setting Up the Right Systems
Create a summary that shows you provide value. (Mine got an A+ from Lauren – no changes were made, so check it out here.) Expertly summarize how you are the person to address the struggles and solve the problems your viewer experiences.
A headshot is vital. No avatar image, selfies or glamour shots allowed.
Testimonials are the MOST valuable thing you can add to your profile. It’s a two-way street, so make sure you’re leaving testimonials for people, too. You can request testimonials from clients by sending them an email with a link to your site where they can leave a few words. Make it as easy as possible for them to help you.
More LinkedIn Best Practices
It’s not just “social media”- LinkedIn is a digital version of real life networking. So, treat it like any other networking event you’d attend. Be polished, polite and make connections to grow your business.
DO be selective about who you connect with – consider whether they fit into one of these 3 categories:
Potential Leads: someone you could or would like to do business with in the future.
Referral Source: someone who could send business your way, an influencer in the industry
Introduction Opportunity: someone you have mutual connections and can bring business
DON’T just click “connect” and leave it at that… This needs to be the start of conversation. You want to do or get business from this person. So, reach out and actually connect. Create a template email for each of the 3 categories and send it each time you make a new connection.
DO capture email addresses of your connections and get them into your database. We don’t have control over social media and the rules can change at any time. You have access to email addresses in LinkedIn, so be sure to capture them immediate so you don’t have to rely on their software…. because “today’s Facebook could become yesterday’s MySpace.”
Find Your Clients’ Pain Points and Ease Them
Today, the niche Symphoni serves is locally owned businesses in St. Petersburg, FL in healthcare and home services. She identified her clients’ to most common problems:
No cohesiveness or accountability. Being small and local, these brands were using a variety of different providers for web design, copywriting, social content, etc. As a result their campaigns were disconnected with no liability on any one provider.
No measure of ROI or marketing analytics. Small and local businesses don’t have tools and resources for measuring success and their marketing service providers where’s providing it. This left them guessing which campaigns are and are not working.
Lauren’s solution? Put all A-list talent under one roof so they can: provide cohesive campaigns. measure and report the return on those campaigns, and be accountable for the profitability of campaigns. Lauren’s markets Symphoni as an agency that orchestrates business-growth solutions in harmony.
Ask yourself… what challenges are you clients up against? How can you show them you recognize their problems? How can you ease or solve them?
What’s the #1 Thing You Can Do to Scale & Grow?
With some solid case studies to back their claims, Symphoni began some seriously rapid growth. Lauren credits the advice of a business coach who advised her to streamline operations by putting systems and processes in place. (Sounds familiar :)) Systems and processes are #1 thing you can do to manage and sustain growth.
“Systems outperform talent every time.”
One of the their very best systems is a unique interview process called the Three Stage Group Interview. Lauren says her agency gets about 300-400 candidates for every position they post. The leadership team gets the top 10-20 candidates to a large, rented space. The do a presentation to these top candidates describing the position, agency core values and future direction. Then, they arrange several roundtable discussions where the agency leaders pose casual, open-ended questions. These roundtable discussions are used to gain information about the candidate and observe them as they interact with each other. Only the real standouts get invited back for a couple more rounds of interviews.
But wait… how are they getting 300-400 candidates for one position?
Using Zip Recruiter, which is a tool that manages and posts open positions on all the top career boards. Also, a fun culture, fantastic PR and winning local awards has led to a large social media following. Symphoni’s social posts makes it a desired place to work…. which makes hundred of people apply!