Mike Sperduti: Prospect for gold on LinkedIn

Friday, January 24, 2014

If you’re a business owner and you think LinkedIn is just a way to manage your professional identity, you’re missing a big sales and marketing opportunity, says consultant Mike Sperduti. HME News caught up with Sperduti, the president of Emerge Sales, in January to talk about how HME providers can use LinkedIn as a revenue-generating tool—the topic of a two-part webcast he’s hosting in February. “This is a discussion about money, not your image,” he said.

HME News: OK, spill the beans: How can providers use LinkedIn as a sales and marketing tool?

Mike Sperduti: You know the old adage: Knowledge is power. What LinkedIn does is give you insights into the individuals you want to do business with. You can’t forget that referral sources are individuals and the astute ones have profiles on LinkedIn. That profile gives you insight into their world—what school did they go to, what has been their career path, what are their hobbies?

HME: So I find out that a case manager at a local hospital volunteers for the same organization as I do. What do I do with that knowledge?

Sperduti: When you’re talking about sales and marketing, the first thing you’re looking to do is build a bridge so you have something in common. They don’t know you, so they don’t want to refer business to you. This gives you visibility into what you might have in common. It gives you the ability to build rapport fast. People won’t listen to you until you have rapport with them.

HME: At the very least it could help break the ice during a cold call.

Sperduti: Everyone hates cold calling. Most sales reps haven’t been trained and they feel uncomfortable with it. LinkedIn helps to make it gold calling. It gives them the gold to approach people easier.

HME: What about the company itself? Should an owner create a LinkedIn profile for the company?

Sperduti: When I think of HME News, I think of you, Theresa, Rick. The credibility of HME News is based on its people. It’s really important—and this is a mind shift for a lot of providers—that you help your employees with their LinkedIn profiles. When I do business with an organization, I’m not looking at the organization’s profile, I’m looking at the profile of the person who’s my contact at the organization. If that person is credible and brings value, I do business with that organization. It starts with the individual and rolls back up to the company.

HME: What are some of the things that should be in employee profiles?

Sperduti: What does the profile pic look like—is it in color, does it look professional? What does their bio look like—what kind of story does it tell about who they are? Does the profile include a link to the company website? If it’s a sales rep, they could even have a video done on YouTube that says, “I’m Mike. I rep such and such HME company…” No one is doing that.

HME: So I’m using LinkedIn to learn about by referral sources and I have an appropriate profile for myself, my company and my key employees. Is there more to this?

Sperduti:  A lot more. One of the next steps is how to take your assets to the people on LinkedIn. You can use the email system within LinkedIn to do the prospecting for you. When it’s done right, it results in repeatable and predictable business.