A Transformative Way Solopreneurs Can Build a Thriving Business

I have good news and bad news, solopreneurs. First, the bad news: Ninety percent of a buyer’s journey may be complete before they ever contact you.

The good news? You can position yourself as a go-to expert with an online networking tool like LinkedIn and a step-by-step method. Then you become the obvious choice when buyers are ready to make a purchase.

With the “MVP Method,” you can exponentially grow your business by finding qualified clients. You’ll also become the “Most Valued Person” to prospects and clients. What’s more, you can spend more time with the important people in your life.

I’ve gone from over $200,000 in debt to earning seven figures a year with this method. I’ve seen it transform consultants, coaches and speakers from overworked, one-person teams to the MVPs of their lives and businesses.

The MVP method

Many who use this method were in business before social media. To get business, they picked up the phone and attended networking events. My sales training 15 years ago consisted of cold calling from a phonebook. So I wasn’t sure about LinkedIn when I joined in 2007. Then I saw what it can do.

Today, 50 percent of B2B buyers use social media when making purchase decisions. LinkedIn, being one example, is a massive database of prospects whom you can connect with for free. And it works for those who didn’t grow up with technology and still believe in the value of a personal relationship. Here’s how.

Related: Leverage LinkedIn for Marketing Your Startup in 5 Steps

Expert mission

First, define your mission: What’s important to you, who your perfect client is, and how you can best deliver your services.

  • Personal values and goals: Your business needs to serve your personal values, which my coach Dr. Nima Rahmany defines as: family, finances, career, spirituality, social, physical and mental. Be honest about what’s most important. Maybe your goal is to grow a billion-dollar business — but maybe it isn’t. If your family takes priority, build your business accordingly.
  • Customer values and attributes: You can’t be everything to everyone. Identify one ideal customer and focus on serving them. Understand their challenges so you can provide a clear solution.
  • Business values and metrics: Research your competition to determine a fair market value for your services, then position yourself on the high end. This lets you serve your clients more fully because you can focus on delivering results instead of stressing about finding your next client.

Next, craft your offer based on:

  • Position: Your success depends on connecting with your audience and positioning yourself as the expert. There will always be competition. How will you stand out?
  • People: We enjoy doing business with people we know, like and trust. When you connect like-minded people, you build a community where everyone benefits — and where you are the leader.
  • Product: Package and deliver your services based on your goals. This could be through workshops, online courses, one-on-one training — you name it. For example, if you want to spend more time with your family, a one-on-one model might not be a good fit.

Now that you’ve laid the foundation, apply it to LinkedIn. Create a contact list using LinkedIn Sales Navigator. While this is a premium tool, it’s worth the minimal investment.

Identify existing connections who are prospects, then look at second- and third-degree connections. Using the advanced search function, you can get laser focused based on job title, company, industry, zip code and more.

Selling value

Two journeys happen before you land a client: the buyer’s and the seller’s. When both needs are fulfilled, it makes a hard “sales pitch” unnecessary.

  • The buyer’s journey: Potential clients must become aware of your business, then consider your offer and evaluate you against the competition. Provide valuable content to bring them along that journey and demonstrate their challenges. As you build a relationship, they trust you and see that you can provide a solution to their problems.
  • The seller’s journey: You need to collect information to articulate how you can benefit your prospects. This may be insights, data and time they give you to help you better understand their needs. Ultimately, their journey ends in an exchange of money for your services.

Provide value so prospects see you as an authority. You can do this by creating content that addresses their pain points through articles, videos and more.

Begin with your first-degree connections, sending a brief message to anyone you haven’t connected with recently. Don’t ask for anything; instead, comment on their recent activity or share your useful content.

Next, focus on second- and third-degree connections. Request to connect with them directly rather than pay to send spammy InMail messages. Once they accept, you can contact them for free. Ask about their challenges, offer content, or request a call, if appropriate.

Engage with these prospects for some quick wins. If you don’t get immediate responses, don’t worry. Even if they aren’t ready to talk, they’re listening.

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Machine precision

Your goal is securing a meeting. Using software like Clickfunnels, create a landing page where you can personalize your message. Establish a way to schedule an appointment using a service like Calendly. You might also include a questionnaire to learn about their needs.

Technology can make the process easier:

  • Sources: LinkedIn Sales Navigator is a great investment to find and convert prospects. You get your LinkedIn contacts’ email addresses and can find “lookalike audiences” for advertising who are similar to your existing prospects.
  • Systems: Your time is valuable and limited. A virtual assistant can help you manage this process, personalize messages and monitor replies. Software systems can help you streamline the process as well.
  • Tracking: You can’t improve what you don’t measure. Monitor every step of the process from acceptance rates to replies and page visits, and adjust along the way. This data is critical to putting the right message in front of the right people at the right time.

Once you have those pieces dialed in:

  • Segment: Divide your audience based on engagement and replies. Then you can customize your content to address their challenges.
  • Automate: Nurturing prospects with automation causes a 451 percent increase in qualified leads. Many systems can help you do this, but it’s also important to maintain a personal touch as you scale.
  • Trigger: When you track your prospecting, you can establish triggers to follow up at the right time without being too pushy. Thus you can take action when the time is right for each potential client.

Remember, this method isn’t only about generating leads — there are real people on the other end. By exchanging value with prospects and clients, you build genuine relationships, online and off.

Originally published on ©2018 by Forbes Media, Inc. All rights reserved.

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