I’m a member of the AMT (The Association For Manufacturing Technology) LinkedIn group. This week, I read an article posted on that Group’s site, by Thomas J. Duesterberg, President and CEO of Manufacturers Alliance (MAPI), titled: “Ten Talking Points About the U.S. Manufacturing Sector”. It’s probably the most succinct and articulate synopsis of the current state of U.S. manufacturing that I’ve read in a long time. It’s receiving a lot of chatter, with many folks sending this article to legislators.
So how are you staying on top of industry-related information? Are you out there trying to make your sales quotas, churning and burning, trying to stay employed for the next quarter? Are you putting your sales efforts into a broader context relevant to your industry? If not, you are missing opportunities to close the sale.
DEVELOP YOUR TALKING POINTS, RELEVANT TO YOUR PROSPECT’S INDUSTRY.
Are you are staying in your cubicle, doing your engineering job, thinking your actions are going to keep you employed? Are you missing out on being able to gauge the significance and relevance of your project to your industry?
LEARNING ABOUT YOUR INDUSTRY HELPS YOU ASK GOOD QUESTIONS DURING TEAM MEETINGS SO YOU BECOME A RESOURCE TO YOUR GROUP.
LinkedIn Groups offer you the opportunity of plugging into “voice of the customer” discussions. What are your peers talking about? What is the industry talking about? Is there a disconnect? How can you connect the dots by ASKING PROVOCATIVE QUESTIONS and providing insights to prospective customers?
Jill Konrath recently published (7/29/2009) an article on RainToday.com called “How to Create Strong Value Propositions that Lead to Sales.” Strong value propositions, or the value of doing business with you, can be created by citing statistics relevant to your industry, business or even creating metrics based on your customer base. You can’t create relevant benchmarks if you are out of touch with industry trends. Have you ever thought of doing some secondary research to differentiate yourself from your peers? Better than that, ask your current customers why they do business with you!
By participating in LinkedIn Group discussions, or at least reading the quality and quantity of discussions in industry-related groups on LinkedIn, you begin to get a sense of your own expertise relative to the issues being discussed. What are your areas of strength? What are the areas you need to brush up on? And you can get a sense of who are the leaders and who are the followers in your group. Perhaps you may want to join a discussion or reach out to one of these participants based on the quality of their discussion.
Perhaps you may want to work for one of these companies. Industry Groups on LinkedIn often post jobs which otherwise are below the radar or at least beyond the scope of your local breakfast networking group.
To join a LinkedIn Group you have to establish a LinkedIn profile. So you need to start on your Personal Branding journey, even in a limited manner. The bottom line: there are tremendous benefits to LinkedIn participation. So don’t second-guess yourself out of these opportunities. Talk about keeping the light underneath the proverbial bushel basket! Why???
Once you are established on LinkedIn, go to the Search Box, top right corner, and select “Groups” from the drop down menu. Do a keyword search to start identifying groups with interests similar to yours.
Request to join these Groups. The Group Manager will review your LinkedIn profile, allow you membership and the logo is displayed on your LinkedIn Profile page. Instantly, your Personal Brand starts to establish itself without your having to engage in creative writing!
LinkedIn Groups can help you discover and define your Personal Brand. At the very least, you will gain insight about topics being discussed within these online groups. Participation in LinkedIn Groups grows your Personal Frame of Reference and your Personal Knowledge Base.
You can’t function within a vacuum and expect to survive and thrive, professionally and personally, in this new economic paradigm. None of us can.
So…. as you’ve read before…..What Are You Waiting For?