Land New Business with the LinkedIn for BlackBerry Smartphones App
New professional networking app turns a cold call into a warm introduction
Imagine walking into an important sales pitch armed with information about your audience's work experience, education, and professional interests. Would that be useful? That is now possible with the new LinkedIn® for BlackBerry® smartphones app from LinkedIn, which lets you view profiles of professionals worldwide, in real time, from virtually any location.
The LinkedIn for BlackBerry smartphones app brings the powerful networking capabilities of LinkedIn to your BlackBerry smartphone. In this article find out the app's features and get insight into how the app can help you grow your business.
What is LinkedIn?
As you may know, LinkedIn is a social networking site aimed at your professional life. It now includes profiles of more than 65 million professionals worldwide. A new member signs up every second, and 1 million members join every two weeks.
The real test of any professional tool, of course, is whether it helps people get things done. In that sense LinkedIn is a huge success.
Because of its exclusive professional focus, in many ways LinkedIn has become the modern equivalent of the resume. Your profile can include your work experience, education, affiliations, and so on. But unlike paper-based resumes, with LinkedIn you can display recommendations from other members for work you have done—a powerful tool for building your credibility. Equally important is building a strong network, as this will help you make contacts with other professionals.
- Guy Kawasaki, Managing Director of Garage Technology Ventures
Companies can also post profiles on LinkedIn, which is important for giving potential customers insight into your business. Research In Motion® (RIM), for example, has its own profile, with links to employee profiles, company news feeds, and statistics.
What is the LinkedIn for BlackBerry Smartphone app?
With its professional focus, it was natural for LinkedIn to bring its professional network to BlackBerry smartphones. The app is available for free from BlackBerry App World™. With it you can search and view member profiles, send messages, and add professionals to your network—all from your BlackBerry smartphone. As of now you cannot view company profiles with the app, but LinkedIn tells us that may be included in a future release.
The app integrates with several key built-in BlackBerry features. For example, LinkedIn messages appear in your Messages folder, marked by a LinkedIn icon. From the Messages folder you can reply to other members. When you make an appointment in BlackBerry Calendar, you can view the attendees' LinkedIn profiles, if available—a great way to get inside information for your next appointment. The app also augments your existing BlackBerry Contacts list with profile photos and updated information.
Turn a cold call into a warm introduction
How can the LinkedIn for BlackBerry smartphones app help your business? Let's say you are moments from giving an important sales presentation. At the last minute, the customer lets you know that the VP of marketing will be joining to hear your pitch. So who is this person?
Pull out your BlackBerry smartphone, open the LinkedIn for BlackBerry smartphones app, and find the VP's profile. Now you can see the VP's:
- Job description
- Degrees of separation from yourself
You notice that the VP graduated from the same college that you did. OK, now you can turn a cold call into a warm introduction.
What else can you do?
Here are more examples of how to use LinkedIn for BlackBerry smartphones for business:
- Tradeshows: When you meet someone at a tradeshow ask the person about their profile as you are talking. It's a great way to deepen the conversation.
- Hiring: Vet potential candidates by fact checking against their LinkedIn profile.
- Networking: How many times has someone said, "You should talk to so and so. They would be perfect for your project?" Now you can look at the referral's profile on the spot and even fire off a message.
- On-the-go access to talent: Request referrals from your network for talent, such as graphic designers, attorneys, accountants, etc. You will be surprised how quickly your network connects you with options.
- Guy Kawasaki
An example: Seven steps to get new business
Tip: Create a meaningful LinkedIn profile and keep it up to date
The techniques outlined in this article mean that prospects, potential employees, customers, and partners will be looking at your professional and company profiles. Consequently your profiles need to be good! Follow these guidelines:
- Post a complete profile, including job descriptions, education, awards, interests, etc.
- Add a professional photo of yourself, which adds personality and credibility.
- Get recommendations from colleagues, managers, direct reports—whoever will say good things about your work. (Recommendations are powerful marketing tools.)
- Build credibility by recommending books in your field.
- Be easy to find by using keywords with which people will search.
- Spell check and proofread everything. Few things defeat a good impression quicker than a sloppy profile.
- Ask questions and post answers to LinkedIn groups in your field; this gets your name out and establishes your expertise.
You can use a combination of the LinkedIn website and the LinkedIn for BlackBerry smartphones app to supercharge your next new business campaign:
- Find a company to pitch (website): Use the LinkedIn website to search for a company to which you wish to pitch. You can search by company name, keyword, location, or by industry. Also find companies by scanning the experience of LinkedIn members who work in your target industry.
- ID the decision makers (website): Search the company's LinkedIn profile to identify the decision makers you need to reach.
- Look for common contacts (website): Check the decision makers' LinkedIn profiles for any mutual LinkedIn contacts. If you find one, ask your mutual contact for an introduction. The aim is for a personalized introduction instead of a cold call.
- Set up a meeting (smartphone): Use your BlackBerry smartphone to invite the decision makers to a meeting.
- Research the people you are meeting with (app): Note conversation starters, such as common interests, contacts, education, etc.
- Update your status (app): After the meeting, use your BlackBerry smartphone to update your LinkedIn status by saying good things about the people you just met. This gives your prospects a good impression, and also alerts your network that you are pitching new business.
- Add the decision makers to your network (app): When the new company becomes a customer, add the people you met to your LinkedIn network!
If you haven't signed up for LinkedIn, do so now. Create your professional and company profiles. Then download the LinkedIn for BlackBerry smartphones app and start using it whenever you're on the go!