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posted: 5/26/2014 5:00 AM

Owner mines LinkedIn for connections, prospects

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Ned Miller is a LinkedIn believer, calling the business social media site "a God send for the small business owner."

Miller, though, doesn't use the social media site to find a connection who can connect him with someone who knows the individual Miller wants to reach, the approach most LinkedIn advocates take. A Vernon Hills video producer -- his company is BIZ Video Inc. -- Miller scrolls through LinkedIn's seemingly endless lists to find job titles (and then names) of individuals experience has taught him are most likely to buy his video services.

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Miller's approach might be worth mimicking. Here, culled from emails and phone conversations we have exchanged since a LinkedIn column I wrote in February, is Miller's approach:

"LinkedIn is a very powerful database, but you have to be proactive -- and hungry enough to learn how to look for prospects," Miller says. "The odds of someone contacting me because they stumbled across my LinkedIn profile are zero.

"I do not contact people through LinkedIn. Rather, I use it to collect prospect names."

Drawing on LinkedIn's advanced search function, which Miller says costs $23 a month and provides 300 names a month, Miller uses "keywords to search for job titles that historically have used my services."

He searches for such titles as vice president, director or manager of marketing or corporate communications.

One of Miller's techniques is to have two browser windows open. Once he finds a prospect, "I cut and paste their name, title and company into Google so I can get the company's website and address.

Then I print a label and send my brochure and business card."

The brochure, which many web marketers tend to believe has disappeared, is an integral part of Miller's marketing.

That's because video services are not typically an impulse buy.

"People don't need us until they need us," Miller says, "but they hang on to things. I send my brochure and a business card."

It's not unusual, Miller says, to receive a call back or email that starts something like this: "We received your brochure a month or two ago ..."

The cost to mail that brochure and business card is $1.46, Miller says.

Miller also joins LinkedIn groups whose members historically need video services.

"I then use the member list to filter Chicago-area members. That's a real gold mine of prospects I would have never known about."

Miller has a tip for LinkedIn users who want to avoid the membership fee or cost of upgrading their accounts and are frustrated when they can't get the last name of a prospect.

Often LinkedIn provides just the first name and first initial of a member's last name, he says. "Yet LinkedIn includes the person's title.

"My trick is to cut and paste (that information) into Google in another browser window."

Do a search and the information you seek "all comes up," Miller says.

• 2014 Kendall Communications Inc. Follow Jim Kendall on LinkedIn and Twitter, and at Kendall Communications on Facebook. Write him at Jim@kendallcom.com.

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