Greetings from St. Louis. The RV is parked within walking distance of downtown, where we will be taking in the Gateway Arch Park and walking the Riverfront Trail. We’ve been here several times before because this is a fun city to visit.
I hope last week’s conversation about the benefits of an accountability partner inspires you to track one down. The biggest benefit to me has been feeling no guilt about not doing the big things that I know I should be doing to improve my practice—because now I am doing them.
On to this week. 41% of millionaires are on LinkedIn—the kind of people we want to rub elbows with. 59% of LinkedIn members have never worked at a company with more than 200 employees—indicating most LinkedIn users work for the private businesses we value. 40% of LinkedIn users check LinkedIn every day—showing the importance of staying connected. So where are your leads for valuation services?
And if you’re new here, welcome aboard. This is what we do!
One thing I found last week: a Website Appraisal guide.
Your website is the hub for all you do. It’s meant to be a landing page for your wisdom, insight, and perspective. I’ve often said that the WWW in your website’s URL stands for Who are you? What do you do? Why should I care? But many sites are just electronic brochures – replacing the printed collateral materials we left with prospects back in the 90s.
Do you want to get an idea of how effective your website is at converting visitors into clients? Spotlight Marketing has created this 2-page guide to help you quickly and easily figure out where your website is creating value for you and where it can improve. (Note: though Spotlight Marketing caters to law firms, its guide will work for your BVFLS site.)
The number of people who say LinkedIn doesn’t work for them amazes me.
And by “doesn’t work for them” they mean their efforts aren’t generating leads for their valuation services. If that sums up your results, here are two crucial mistakes you might be making.
But first, here is a recent (and typical) LinkedIn status update from a BVFLS professional who I am connected to:
All small business owners will require a valuation, at one point or another, whether for a merger, acquisition, tax issue, succession plan or a full sale. To help increase the value of your business, we have launched our all new “[Name Redacted]” Service. We will value your business, identify your value drivers, look towards KPI’s and explore unique ways to drive your value. Here is an interesting article to help you understand valuation.
Put yourself in the shoes of your potential leads. How do you react to this message?
Mistake #1: Don’t sell on LinkedIn
Chances are, the people you are trying to reach on LinkedIn don’t know you. If people don’t know you, they can’t like or trust you. So they are not going to buy from a stranger on the basis of a LinkedIn status update. (Those who do know you don’t require your sales pitch.)
What your LinkedIn updates need is interesting/valuable content that lets potential leads get to know you. And like you. And trust you. That happens over time. Like a courtship. This is how we sell in person—our online tactics shouldn’t be any different.
Every update I put on LinkedIn relates to issues, concerns, or questions of my coaching and valuation clients and prospects—nothing about what I have to sell. The closest I come to self-promotion is an occasional gentle plug for my report review service or this blog.
Mistake #2: Stop pushing the wrong button
Study after study has shown we are irrational creatures and we make decisions—especially buying decisions—for irrational reasons. The above LinkedIn update assumes potential leads are rational and will be convinced to purchase valuation services based on the logic of wanting to know their value drivers and KPIs.
Very few business owners (or their advisors) who I have worked with actually wanted to buy a valuation—for any reason. What moved them to sign engagement letters were their problems that needed solving—with a valuation.
So if you want leads, you need to appeal to buyers’ emotions. Skeptical? Think about what motivates you to buy something. Are your reasons rational, based on logic, or does the seller’s message appeal to your current emotional state of mind?
Do this instead
What will work is a series of LinkedIn updates (i.e., public service announcements) with themes like:
- Your business partner just passed away. What will you do without her? Her interest needs to be valued so life can go on for everyone involved. We can do that.
- You’re getting divorced. Your business is the largest marital asset and needs to be valued. It’s gonna hurt. We got your back.
- Your business has provided everything for your family. You want to get out while you’re on top. We help savvy business owners like you plan successful, high-value transitions.
- An employee stole your customer list. People are upset and worried. The damages seem incalculable. We calculate the incalculable.
Attach a relevant article (or toolkit or checklist or case study) to these messages and you’ll be off and running. You will make the necessary emotional connection that motivates people to take the action you want.
As these examples show, it helps to have a specialty … you would want a specialist to solve your acute problem, right?
And the reader of your LinkedIn update, if they have that problem and you lay the right breadcrumbs, will find their way to your website. There, you can showcase all of the resources that prove you can do what you say you can do. People reach out to you. Leads are born.
In real life
I am not the gold standard when it comes to working LinkedIn. But I do know that most of my coaching and valuation leads come from the time I invest in LinkedIn. If you want more success, and not just on LinkedIn, spend some time understanding buyer psychology instead of KPIs.
According to BVR’s Business Valuation Firm Economics & Best Practices Guide – 2017 Edition ($99), social networking has made drastic inroads since their 2011 survey. Back then, only 11% of respondents said they use social networking sites regularly. In 2016, 78% of the people said they regularly use LinkedIn.
But what’s the point of using LinkedIn regularly if you’re not using it correctly? You’ll just end up joining the ranks of those who say, “I tried LinkedIn, and it didn’t work for me” … and leave a lot of fees on the table.
Reading that can help
– If you like what I write about, tell a colleague.
– If something resonates and you want to reach out directly, email me.
– If you think we share common interests, connect with me on LinkedIn.
– If you want a sense of how well your practice is working for you, take this Practice Self Assessment.