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This chapter is from the book

Why LinkedIn Is More Than a Modern Rolodex

If you’re not old enough to know what a Rolodex is, it was a rotating file device used to store contact business info. It debuted in 1958 and was insanely popular with business people (back around the time when people were walking uphill both to and from school). If you think LinkedIn is just a modern version of that, you’re dead wrong. Here’s why:

  • LinkedIn contacts stay up to date without your help, especially when people move from one company to another. I’ve had salespeople tell me that if all LinkedIn did for them was keep track of contacts who are switching companies, that feature alone would make it worth using.
  • LinkedIn contains a heck of a lot more information about a person than a Rolodex ever could, often including recent tweets, blog posts, and colleagues who’ve recommended them. You can use this information to start interesting conversations and get a sales call off on the right footing.
  • You can advertise, start groups and communities, and even market your company on LinkedIn—all obviously beyond the capabilities of a rotating file.

LinkedIn is more than a real-time Rolodex or resume; it gives you an entire marketing and advertising system. Plug it into a CRM such as Salesforce.com or ACT! and you’ve put your sales funnel on steroids.

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