Make Your Cash Register Ring With LinkedIn / Part 1: The Game

The most common concern that I hear when people come to me to request LinkedIn training is: “It takes so much time!”

As it turns out, when small many small business owners think of LinkedIn, they see the opportunity but quickly think of the excess hours that their teenage kids spend on Facebook. And so they don’t play the game. They leave money and influence on the table while their competitors launch into cyberspace.

As a CPA, I have a keen sense for the value of every hour. When I started using LinkedIn myself, I had to limit my nonbillable time. So I developed a methodology for being highly effective (read: making my cash register ring…remember, I’m a CPA, not a PR person) on LinkedIn in no more than 15-30 minutes at a shot.

Turns out, this method works for a lot of other people, too – I’ve been giving courses and private consulting on this methodology for a few years now.

It doesn’t have anything to do with what to click on in LinkedIn – that’s for another article – but it is the reason why my clients can now grow their businesses with such a small time commitment in the social media space.

Accountants often say – and rightly so -– that every dollar that you spend has the potential to increase the value of your business. What about every hour that you spend?

So here it is. Be able to answer these questions or don’t waste your time on LinkedIn.

(1) Who am I and what do I want for my life?
Yes, this CPA just went there. And keep it to a phrase or a few sentences.

(2) Why am I in business?
Don’t tell me “to make money” or “to help people.” You can do that by being an employee and by sharing your umbrella with someone. Why are you in business?

(3) What is my exit strategy?
“Exit? What do you mean exit? I just started!” I hear you say. There are different ways to develop your business NOW depending on whether you want to position it for sale, be bought out by a partner, pass it on to the next generation, or simply close the doors when you don’t want to run it anymore.

(4) What is my long-term vision for this business?
Mom-and-pop shop? Global takeover? Exclusive community? Ubiquitous?

(5) Who are the types of players needed to make that happen?
These players help you to accomplish your vision for your business and for your life.

(6) Which of my stories are compelling to key people in face-to-face conversations?
The time a customer said, “I [can sleep at night / increased sales by 15% / prevented total disaster / looked like a hero] because of what your company did for me!”

(7) In what ways is my company’s offering unique to the marketplace?
No, I mean actually unique. And it’s probably not what you’re selling. I didn’t say product/service, I said offering. If I had a nickel for every business owner I’ve heard claim that there is no competition for their product or service…

(8) What are the key experiences that touch the people most important to my business?
No matter your product or service, there is something deep down that causes someone to say “yes” – and that is what is present when your company suddenly looks like an opportunity for someone’s life.

If you own a business and you can’t answer these questions, you probably don’t own a business. You have a job.

But if you can answer the above questions clearly and concisely, you have major rocket fuel. Translate these into the LinkedIn actions and you’ll take off – and you’ll give your CRM system a run for the money. Engage by doing what your business does and you’ll hear ringing in your ears…from your cash register, that is.