Here’s yet another smart way to use LinkedIn. The following is an excerpt from Chapter 21 of The Virtual Handshake: Opening Doors and Closing Deals Online, entitled “Increase the Quality and Quantity of Information”. This, of course, is one of major value propositions of LinkedIn, which this story illustrates beautifully.
Al Chase tells how he leveraged software and personal information from the client’s virtual presence to land a major contract:
I have been using LinkedIn as a virtual personal Web page for the past six months, as well as for business development for my executive search practice. I currently have 262 connections and 20 endorsements from clients and candidates.
Early in June, a prospective client contacted me who had found my profile on LinkedIn. The client was motivated to call me because of:
- The number and quality of my connections;
- The number and consistency of my endorsers and their comments about my unusual approach to recruiting;
- The fact that the client and I were two degrees away from one another within LinkedIn, separated by an attorney in Boston with whom we have both worked.
After calling our common connection to learn more about me, the client contacted me to explore the possibility of engaging me to do a search for the General Manager of an entertainment complex to be built in the Northeast.
We quickly determined that I had no prior experience in executing a high level search within this particular industry, and that I was competing with some of the large retained executive search firms in Boston for the right to conduct this search.
My reading of the client’s LinkedIn Profile led me to his Web page, where I learned that he had a background in choreography and dance. I used my knowledge of the world of dance to offer an analogy that prompted the client to consider engaging me for this search, despite my lack of prior industry experience. The client asked me to sign a Non-Disclosure Agreement and asked to meet me face-to-face.
During the face-to-face meeting, I was able to present my approach to placing senior executives who are “Renaissance Souls” in companies where such a broad and classical approach to leadership is valued. At the end of the meeting, the client informed me that they would like to retain me for this search.
Using a combination of LinkedIn and other personal networks, I was able to quickly engage with top leaders in the theme park industry, and learned that most of the Best Practices leaders in the industry would be speaking at a trade association convention in Singapore in mid-July. I proposed to the client that I attend to accelerate the search. I returned from Singapore with dozens of contacts within the industry, and several well-qualified candidates.
One of those candidates whom I met in Singapore was engaged by my client to fill an operational role on the project, and another industry leader has been hired as general manager for the project.