Episode 73: Your LinkedIn Alumni Page
Our hosts Brynne Tillman and Bob Woods discuss the value of your LinkedIn alumni page when it comes to initiating sales conversations from a warmer perspective.
Learn how you can find LinkedIn connections by visiting the pages of the college or high school you went to and how they can be great resources for establishing sales relationships with prospects.
Listen as the LinkedIn Whisperer Brynne and the LinkedIn Sherpa Bob walk you through the steps while sharing plenty of useful tips along the way, so you can start building your sales network with ease.
Bob Woods 00:00
Hey everybody, and welcome to Make Sales Social LIVE! I’m Bob Woods, the LinkedIn Sherpa, and I’m joined as always by the LinkedIn Whisperer Brynne Tillman, How are you doing today, Brynne?
Brynne Tillman 00:12
Good, Bob. How are you?
Bob Woods 00:14
I am doing great! And looking forward to talking about a subject that really doesn’t get talked about a lot yet it’s something that can be used very effectively for starting sales conversations. And it revolves around your fellow alumni from whatever college or colleges you went to or sometimes even your high school. They can be great resources to help you start sales conversations with your prospects.
LinkedIn’s alumni feature is like I said, it’s a little down yet great avenue to help you start exploring your alumni connections and it’s more powerful to use than you might think. So just in case, you’ve never heard of it, and you’re like, “Hmm…where is it?” Basically, you go to the school that you went to. so for me that’d be like Bowling Green State University. Once you get to that page, there will be a little tab that says alumni there. You click on that and that’s where the magic begins, Brynne.
Brynne Tillman 01:43
Yeah, absolutely! So and you can also, if you are connected to your page on your profile, you can click through there as well but let’s talk about the power of this profile, because there’s a lot to be said, with networking with your alumni and there are so many different ways to leverage this page to search. So first, I’m going to talk a little tactical, and then I’m gonna tell you a little story of how I use alumni pages for a school I didn’t go to. So when you are on the alumni page, when you get to your alumni page, when you’re doing a normal search, we typically will click through all employees, but in this case, we want to click on the tab, which is the fifth one over, that is alumni.
And in here, you’re going to see some search opportunities, you could go by years. So if you wanted to find people that were in school the same time you’re in school, in your, in the search bar, you can do keywords or Boolean searching, but you can also drill down where they live, where they work, what they do, what they studied, and so forth. And as you fill out the filters, you complete those filters, your search, when you scroll down, will become tighter and tighter ’til you’re getting really the ideal prospects that you’re looking for that are alumni to your school. And when you have that connection, it’s so much easier to start a conversation, right? It’s like going to a reunion and talking with people, you already have something in common, something pretty significant in common so it’s a great opportunity to start that conversation.
The other way that you can search, which I mean, it’s still the same kind of concept, right? But when you are actually searching people in LinkedIn, and I’m just making sure this is available in the free because I do this in Sales Navigator all the time. So live, you’re watching me find out before I give you the information. Yes, you do have the school in the free search. So when you are searching just in LinkedIn search, the search bar, you hit Enter, you hit People, All Filters. One of the filters is Alumni. So you can create all kinds of filters to find your ideal prospect, and then choose Alumni. Powerful way to go when you’re searching.
So here’s my little story of how I use alumni page that wasn’t even my alumni. In 2016, I had a side gig. I was the Chief Learning Officer for People Links. Bob worked with me there. It was a little, we took a little tangent from Social Sales Link for a year or so. And in 2016 I was there. Their headquarters is on Market Street in Philadelphia, which by the way is the street where all the parades are when their teams win something. So Villanova in the Philadelphia suburbs won the NCAA Tournament champion and so they had a parade. So I came out of the office, the whole team did, and I took pictures of the parade and then I went to the search and I found all my prospects that went to Villanova and I sent them pictures of the parade, congratulating them. It started a significant amount of conversations and ultimately led to three pieces of business. So I just wanted to share that story. So tell me a little bit about your thoughts around alumni cheat page and if you have any tips on how to use them.
Bob Woods 05:37
Yeah, so actually, my big one definitely doesn’t apply to everyone but it does apply to some people and this is something that I learned personally, living in Lexington, Kentucky now. So I’m betting that a lot of other towns are like this as well but when someone finds out that you’re from the same town that you’re living in right now, and this is especially true if you have like a local territory or a territory that includes where you live.
So, the first question that always comes out of people’s minds, or that comes out of people’s mouths, especially in networking situations, and things like that is, “Oh, where’d you go to high school?” That is huge, especially around here in Lexington. Like I said, I’m sure it’s probably like that in other areas, too. So that’s why it makes sense for you to go and see A, if people have entered in their high schools, and then B, try to develop those relationships, even with high schools, because it’s like I said, you might be located in an area where high schools are big for networking, and just for meeting people as well. So while you’re probably going to get more for college, don’t forget about high schools, because high schools can be just as important.
Brynne Tillman 06:47
I love that! That’s awesome.
Bob Woods 06:48
And then the other thing is, you don’t have to graduate to be specifically an alumni and as Brynne said, you don’t even have to go to the school necessarily to use the alumni but this also applies with profiles. So like me, for example, I had a failed try at an NBA at the Loyola University of Chicago but I use that and I do try to network within that sphere as well because I did go to that school for a little while in their master’s program. So don’t feel like just because you didn’t graduate, you still can’t use that.
You can absolutely use that not only for connections but even just in your profile, as well just make sure that you tell people in your profile that you didn’t graduate, you don’t want to represent that you graduated from somewhere where you didn’t.
Brynne Tillman 07:38
Absolutely! The authenticity is really important but you’re right, if you attended classes, you are an alumni, you can absolutely add that to your profile.
So the last thing I want to say, and this will probably be a pretty short tip, because you know, the alumni page, although very powerful, there’s not that much to share, except that if you’re prospecting large companies, you can actually go into that company and see who your alumni is as well. So you can back into a search.
So if you’re going after Merck, you know, 10,000 plus employees, you can hop into that company and do the search. And then, you know, I would typically go, “Do I have any first degree connections here?” If I don’t have first degrees, “Do I have second degree connections?” And then I would say, “Do I have any alumni?” because you can reach out to that alumni who may be very happy to help you access decision makers, right? Even if they’re not necessarily your prospect, they may be able to help you navigate the company itself.
Bob Woods 8:46
Brynne Tillman 8:48
So short Making Sales Social Live today but I think impactful. And I absolutely think that if people start to leverage this, they’ll start more sales conversations from a warmer perspective than any kind of cold calling they can ever do.
Bob Woods 09:03
Especially if you can match up the years that you went there to the years that they went there too. And always keep in mind that you know, you were there, from freshman to senior year, or if you’re like me, and you’re actually on the eight-year plan, and you kind of dipped in and out, but, there were people there who were seniors when you were freshmen that you might know and then there were people who were [inaudible].
Brynne Tillman 09:25
Yes, so increase that years.
Bob Woods 09:28
Freshman, yeah, yes. So you do have that year option, expand those years to like three years before and three years after too because not everyone is going to fit in into that category there.
Brynne Tillman 9:42
Bob Woods 9:44
With that in mind, thanks again for joining us on Making Sales Social LIVE! If you’re with us LIVE on LinkedIn right now and hopefully, you can see us. We do this every week so keep an eye out for our live sessions. If you’re listening to us on our podcast, in a pre-recorded way and you haven’t subscribed already, we invite you to hit that subscribe or follow button to access all of our previous shows and be alerted when new ones drop.
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Brynne Tillman 10:37
Sounds good to me, Bob.
Brynne Tillman 10:39
Thanks a lot, everybody. Have a great day. Bye-bye.
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