I was picked up at the San Francisco airport by a very friendly man. His name is Judge and his company is called RJ Travels.
On the road to the hotel we were talking about LinkedIn (which is one of his irregular customers) and how he could use their website to get more customers.
The first step is to start with the question: “who do you want as a customer?”. The easiest approach is to start with your current clientele.
My assumption was that the people who called him the most were management assistants and secretaries to arrange pick ups for their bosses, colleagues, customers and suppliers. To my surprise it was a total different function that hired him the most: recruiters. Lesson learned: never assume anything: ask and talk first!
In Silicon Valley they want the brightest people to work for them and they fly them in for job interviews. Hence they need transport from the airport.
Since Judge is a very nice man who provides excellent service his business keeps growing. What happens is that the candidates who were hired now also call him when they need to go to the airport. A good example of how good customer service automatically leads to more business.
Being hired again is also a sign of satisfaction and hence you can ask for referrals.
So what I adviced Judge to do is to use the following strategy to use LinkedIn to find new customers:
1) next time you pick up one of the LinkedIn people who have already used your services in the past, ask if they want to connect on LinkedIn (since it is their own website they will be very interested to have a conversation about it as well)
2) after you are connected with them, look in their network for recruiters, secretaries and management assistants you don’t know yet
3) ask the “middle man” to introduce the both of you to each other via email (this is what I call the “Magic Email”) or via LinkedIn
If a cab driver can use LinkedIn to find the right people to grow his business, so can you. The most important point is where you start: what is the profile of customers you want. Thanks Judge for my lesson to never assume I think I already know the answer !
To your success !