Is This LinkedIn’s Best-Kept Secret?

When I was 17 years old, my parents left town for the weekend.

In a shocking (and I’m sure, rare) display of a teenager disobeying his parents, I decided to throw a small party, inviting a handful of friends to come over.

Things were going fine until the doorbell rang a few hours into my small soiree. I assumed it was just the last few friends coming to join us.

Instead, I opened the door and saw hundreds of kids in my driveway.

My entire high school had shown up.

It was such a circus that a neighbor across the street had pulled out a lawn chair to watch the festivities from his front yard.

Cocktail in a nightclub

Times Have Changed

These days, I invite hundreds of people I barely know to visit my house … on LinkedIn.

LinkedIn’s millions of professional groups remain the network’s best-kept secret when it comes to discovering an endless supply of qualified leads and potential clients.

They’re also the single best place to build your own personal fishing pond of prospects and potential buyers.

How it Works

If you aren’t familiar with the concept, LinkedIn has millions of professional “Groups” – places where professionals gather to share ideas, discussions and information based around a specific industry, topic, job title, physical location or other criteria.

You’ll notice that LinkedIn encourages you to join Groups based around your own personal interests or profession.

That’s a mistake – and here’s why.

Let’s say, for example, that you’re a realtor. If you wanted to sell houses, you wouldn’t spend all your time talking to and hanging out with other realtors, right?

But that’s precisely what many of us do on LinkedIn – we join Groups where our contemporaries or peers are hanging out.

That’s fine if you want to talk shop and learn more about your industry. The only problem is, none of your prospects or potential clients are going to be in those Groups.

Instead, you need to join the Groups where your ideal customers have already gathered to talk about their industry or interests.

Watch this video to see how it works:

Once you do, you’ll discover an endless supply of the exact people you want to do business with. Best of all, it’s unlikely many of your competitors are yet doing the same thing, so the prospecting waters will be less polluted.

Invite People to Your Party

While it’s great to work the party circuit by joining other people’s LinkedIn Groups, an even better play is to invite everyone you meet back to your house for the after-party.

The way you do it is by starting your own LinkedIn Group and then inviting your ideal prospects to join it.

The idea here is to create a Group that will attract your ideal customers or clients because it promises to (A) Be a great place for them to meet their contemporaries and network and (B) It will provide them with valuable information, tips and strategies that help them achieve their business or professional goals.

Also, I cannot state this enough: It is vital that your Group name is something that displays value to your sales prospects and gives them incentive to join.

For example, when I wanted to sell my marketing services to Debt Collection Agency CEOs (a very targeted, niche audience), I named my LinkedIn Group “Debt Collection Agency Marketing Tips: More Revenue. More Clients.”

A name like that tells your ideal prospects that if they join your Group, they’re going to get tips on how to achieve their goals.

Highway Signpost "Competitive Advantage"

Why Does Having Your Own LinkedIn Group Matter So Much? 

Once people join your LinkedIn Group, you have all your proverbial fish in the same barrel – all your best prospects in one place.

Better yet, you get to control your own Group, meaning you can keep competitors from joining or posting. Along with being able to post in the Group whenever you want, you can also email the entire Group once a week with a blast announcement or message related to whatever type of content or offer you want to share.

Once you have your Group set up, share some of your best tips or content that helps your ideal audience achieve their goals. It’s important to do this so Group members know you’re not just here to pitch them. Instead, you’re a credible expert who is going to be someone they want to pay attention to, learn from and eventually do business with.

Also, be a gracious host – invite everyone who joins your new Group to talk about their favorite topic: Themselves!

Ask people to share in the Group discussion area who they are, what they do and what their biggest goals are. By doing that, you’ll generate lots of discussion, learn more about your prospects and what their biggest desires are, and ensure that people feel like this is a place to share their thoughts and pay attention to what goes on.

If you do, you’ll keep your virtual house party rocking no matter what time of day it is. You’ll also cultivate more leads than you know what to do with!

The Party’s Over

As for my teenage celebration gone wrong, there is a funny ending.

Seeing my entire high school in my parents’ driveway, I slammed the door shut, locked it and hoped they’d go away.

They did, but not before several basketball players decided to have a slam-dunk contest with our rickety driveway hoop. It got so exciting that some of my neighbors apparently brought out lawn chairs and sat in their front yards, watching dazzling display.

One of hoopsters – he was 6-foot-8 and 250 pounds, and later played Division I basketball on a full scholarship – threw down a thunderous jam that literally brought the entire hoop down.

That ended the party in a hurry.

I woke up the next morning, opened the front door and saw our basketball hoop lying across the driveway.

The jig was up.

My parents found out, gave me a punishment and I vowed never to throw another house party … until LinkedIn arrived!

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