When you think of growing your freelance ESL business, what do you think of? If the first thing that comes to mind is ‘company classes’ then I bet you have also discovered that catching corporate clients is far easier to say than do.
3 Ways to use LinkedIn to Get Corporate Clients.
- Define your target. What company do you want to serve? How many employees does your ideal client have?
Shift Your Thinking: Stop trying to catch a company. Instead, focus on building relationships with people IN your target company. Pull out some paper and start a list. Do you know anyone who works in your target company? This is a repeated point, but it is true: people prefer to do business with people they already know, like and trust.
Nobody? Use LinkedIn to help you begin building your network.
A Word of Caution: Usually the bigger the company, the more difficult they will be for you to work with due to their business systems. I have found that businesses with over 250 employees tend to have intense processes for payment that could force you to wait anywhere from 30 to 90+ days before they pay you. If you can handle that, great. But I bet you need income faster than that, so pay attention to employee counts! Generally, smaller companies are friendlier, and easier to deal with.
When you know the company you want to work with, see if they have a company page on LinkedIn, and follow it. (Is your target a multi-national? Try looking for a local company page. It may or may not have country specific profiles.)
Use the search tool inside LinkedIn, and set it up for company searches. (Click on the button on the left hand side of the search bar and select ‘Companies.’) Then type in the name of the company you are interested in serving and start your search.
2. Focus Before you do anything else with the results that come up, look to the left of your screen. You should see a few search customization features like: Relationship, Location, and Current Company etc. These are free, so use them! Focus on first and second level relationships as well as Group Members, by selecting each. Location: pick the place (Country + City) where you live. If it is not listed, don’t fret! Click “ADD” and write in your city or country. Result: a smaller list of people you can start reaching out to.
3. Join More LinkedIn Groups to be where your prospects are hanging out. Groups are powerful ways to open connection possibilities. When you join a group, you gain access to its members. When you send an invitation to connect to someone not in your first level of relationship, but who belongs to the same group as you, you can list your group in common as a reason to connect. I have found that this usually opens the door for me. With no group in common, you will need to prove your relationship with this person some other way, like an e-mail address. You likely don’t have that, so use groups as a ‘thing in common’ whenever possible.
Warm up before you connect. Before connecting with someone you don’t know, see if you can follow any conversations they might be involved in if they are in the same group as you. Engage them in conversation if you can – but around group topics. Like their posts. Comment on them with a focus to add value. Let them get to know you a bit before you try reaching out.
Send the Invite: When possible always try to write your own invite request. Make it short, but HUMAN sounding. Try something like: “I’ve enjoyed talking with you about topic X in group X, would you like to connect with me?”
If they accept, well done! But stay calm. Don’t try to sell them anything yet. Focus on building relationship. Keep engaging them in group conversations. Try sending them links to articles they might find useful based on what you learn about them. Then, after you have built up a little rapport, start talking about your business — based on THEM not you. .
There you have it! Use LinkedIn to help you find your target company, narrow your search down, and build your prospect network.