Posted on 03 Apr 09
At the Peak Performance Conference in January, Nat Brinn, president and CEO of CardioReady®, came up with a "best marketing idea" that complements our FACE TIME interview with Rick Morgan in this issue: obtaining sales referrals and leads using the business networking platform of LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com). LinkedIn, as of February 2009, has more 35 million registered users spanning 170 countries getting connecting and networking in a business environment platform.
The purpose of LinkedIn is to allow registered users to maintain a list of contact details of people they know and trust in business. The people in the list are called Connections. Users can invite anyone (whether a site user or not) to become a connection.
Nat's idea is to develop a sales referral program using LinkedIn. Find out whom in your agency, or in your wholesaler operation, is already part of the LinkedIn community. Encourage those who aren't on LinkedIn, especially sales staff, to join. "All salespeople should be a part of LinkedIn," says Nat. "It's a good way to review your contacts, but even more importantly to see with whom your contacts are networked. It makes the entire networking process easier."
"You're only a handshake or two away from the person you want to contact," continues Nat. "It's a way of finding the people in the chain to get to the person/business you want to speak with."
Nat gives an example of an agency wanting to communicate with the individual responsible for the town's insurance program. "You may not know that individual personally, but one of your contacts' contacts may know him or her…with LinkedIn, you get to look at your connections' connections and the path to get to your target."
Depending on the business and its size, you can schedule weekly or monthly meetings to review each employee's LinkedIn relationships to determine which of these to reach out to. You can even look at connections based on different sectors you want to target, to see if there are any contacts in the industries in which you’re interested. You also need to determine who will contact these connections, the staff member who is part of the LinkedIn network or a salesperson. "You can decide whether it's best to have the person in the network to communicate with his contact by asking for a referral, or to have your salesperson directly call or send a message," says Nat.
Nat recommends tracking the progress of those you are identifying as prospects, those with whom you have made contact and those that generated referrals and leads. He recommends designating an individual, perhaps in the marketing area, to be a "champion" of the program. Another recommendation is to establish your goals upfront and track the progress over at least a one-year period.
CardioReady® offers loss control services to help reduce deaths resulting from cardiac emergencies. The company has a program that installs heart defibrillators (AEDs) into facilities in which groups of people are affiliated. It can be an integral component of a risk management program that MGAs and wholesalers offer to their clients. The chances of survival increase from less than 5 percent to more than 70 percent if an AED is used within 3-5 minutes of collapse.
“We work with Venture Insurance Program, which provides coverage for 1,400 golf courses across the country,” says Nat. Known as the Preferred Club Program, insureds of the program receive the CardioReady® program at no cost.”
CardioReady®’s program comes with the proper placement of AEDs along with training, maintenance, web-based tracking of trained staff, batteries and electrode pads, email reminders and communication with local emergency response providers.
“We are also looking to develop similar programs in other sectors,” says Nat, “including churches, office buildings, health clubs, hotels, camps. “AED safety measures are needed anywhere groups of people gather. We would like to develop exclusive relationships with MGAs or insurers in these markets and provide a differentiating factor for our partners”.
For more information about CardioReady® and its program, please visit: www.cardioready.com.