Time is a precious commodity for sales folks. One study by Inside Sales found that only 36.6% of their time goes to revenue-generating activities. You would think salespeople would structure their schedules in such a way that 100% of their time would be as productive as possible. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case. The same study also found that just three in ten sales associates follow a structured approach to time management.
It may come as a surprise but many of the top sales performers in the banking industry use LinkedIn nearly two hours every day. Compare this to the average banker who is active about 17 minutes… per month. Quite the difference, wouldn’t you say?
When I teach bankers how they can leverage LinkedIn, the question I always get is this: “What could I possibly be doing on LinkedIn every day for two hours?” The answer is “plenty.” Speaking from personal experience, I can tell you that the return I get from my investment on LinkedIn is amazing. Granted, two hours may not be realistic for many bankers, but just 30-35 minutes is enough to experience a great return — what I call the “Return on LinkedIn Time Investment” (ROLTI).
1. Check the Scoreboard
The first thing I do in the morning is check my Social Selling Index. SSI is a free feature on LinkedIn, available to everyone. SSI allows you to see how effective you are at the “four pillars” of LinkedIn success:
- Creating your professional brand
- Finding the right people
- Engaging the audience with insights
- Building strong relationships
Each component has a high score of 25 which helps you figure out where you might spend more time to be more effective. On a scale of 1-100, I like my score to be above 90, and I am especially happy at 95 (bankers’ scores typically range from 17 to 23). Once I get my daily SSI benchmark, I can move on, knowing where to spend my time.
Time Investment: One minute, including taking a dive into each component.
2. Peak a Boo
The Notifications tab in LinkedIn makes it easier than ever to learn if your 1st Level connections (people you are connected with on LinkedIn) are having special days. My second activity is to go through those notifications to see who has changed jobs, been promoted, has a work anniversary, etc. You can click on the individual and either like the special thing or say congrats and type a quick, personal message. This process has been markedly improved over previous versions of LinkedIn, it’s easier to make your message private vs. public. The other nice thing is that information about Group posts are now included in Notifications. This helps you better understand who is seeing and relating to the material you are sharing.
Time Investment: 2-3 minutes if/when I actually type something.
3. I See You
I click to see who has viewed my profile recently. This is kind of like a form of LinkedIn Caller ID. Depending on the person, their title, etc., you may return the favor by going to their profile. Many times, that results in a new connection, helping grow my network. When 1st Level connections visit my profile, I may make a mental note to see how often they are checking me out, and/or I may reach out to them. I can simply say that I noticed that they looked at my profile and was thinking about how they are doing, or attach an article or idea might be of some interest to them. This keeps your network engaged and is another way to keep in touch.
Time Investment: 2-3 minutes.
4. You’re Invited
The My Network tab is really slick. It’s much easier to see new invitations that are pending, and it also allows you to see what connections you have sent that have yet to be accepted. If I know the person, I accept them without thought. If they are a banker from the U.S. I am likely to say yes. If they are not a banker or if the request comes from outside the U.S., they get more scrutiny. If it is a third-level connection, it is very i y that I accept. If the Pro le is missing a photo, it’s a non-starter. If they are at the second level, I may accept based on the trust I have in the common connections.
Time Investment: 1-2 minutes to review and accept connection invitations.
5. Thank You
This is a significantly underutilized and vital activity. When someone accepts my connection request, I send a message of appreciation. This is a small subtlety but a nice touch — a very short thank you for connecting. I will also frequently comment on something going on at their bank, the industry, their community, etc., to personalize the message even more. I always suggest that I am available to be a resource if they or the bank need me. Notice I am not pushing a training class here or that “let’s get together for coffee.” That is a big mistake, and I de-connect from anyone that does that to me.
Snail mail still works too. One banker in Indiana writes a short note to her new LinkedIn connections, using one of her bank’s fold over cards and she inserts her business card. Nice touch, and it’s effective.
Time Investment: 2-3 minutes, unless you do the snail mail deal (that may take a little longer).
6. Get Connected
Each day — including weekends — I proactively attempt to connect with 3-5 people. Sometimes I use a conference list or reach out to bankers I ran into recently. Other times, I review who has been to my Profile or look to see if I might get deeper into a client bank with new connections. LinkedIn helps too by making suggestions as to who I might want to add to my network. I customize connection requests to each person, always careful to reference a mutual acquaintance or how they met me.
Time Investment: 1-2 minutes to continue growing your network.
We’re now at 10 minutes. Add five more for distractions and fluff. Is that time invested worth it? Likely not today but what about days, weeks, months from now?
Got a few more minutes? How about some extra credit?
7. Content Creates Currency
Tony Hughes has built a worldwide training and speaking enterprise through LinkedIn. He has more than 180,000 followers and he generates all of his opportunities through his practical and insightful articles. Millions of professionals have found that publishing, sharing and posting content can make them thought leaders in their communities and elsewhere.
This takes a little longer to execute but the investment provides sustainable mind share. Here’s how I do it. Each morning I find three articles. One deals with sales or marketing, one targets leadership or sales management, and the final one centers around training or HR. Sometimes I find these articles through thought leaders I follow on LinkedIn: Tony Hughes, Mike Kunkle, Don Peppers, Brynne Tillman, Jill Konrath and others. I vet each article for material that might be political, insensitive, or anything else that could cause reputational damage.
I share one post a day on my LinkedIn homepage. At the very top of the newsfeed you can write a short phrase or sentence to highlight the content and then paste the link next to the sentence. If the link has a long string, go to Bitly.com and shorten it (bonus: you can track clicks on your Bit.ly links).
Twice a week, I share one of those articles with some of the 62 LinkedIn Groups I’ve joined. There are great systems available to do this automatically, but I am old school and I like to do this one at a time. This process provides lots of value to members and doesn’t hurt my personal brand either. I watch who has seen, liked, shared and commented and the post on my homepage. LinkedIn provides some interesting data that helps you see where the visits are coming from, the titles of the individuals and how it was found. This can help when you post or even publish other articles.
Time Investment: 5 minutes to find and scan, 2 minutes to post to homepage, and 10 minutes to share articles with my Groups.
Total Time Investment: 35 minutes. ROLTI: Priceless
Is it worth up to 35 minutes a day to help maximize your personal and bank visibility? Is it worth a little time in the evening or on a rainy or snowy weekend to share content and to better segment your opportunities? If you get in the habit, you’ll find yourself regularly writing down ideas and making notes about ways you can tap LinkedIn. Keep it up, and you will find you’ve become a top option in your town when someone is looking for a new banker.