I’d like to point out a few features that allow you to position yourself in virtual locations within LinkedIn® itself.

LinkedIn Groups

Within the LinkedIn® platform, you are able to join “groups” of people with common interests or backgrounds.

To find groups, log in to your LinkedIn® account, locate the navigation box in the upper right hand corner, and click on Groups Directory

You will now be able to do a comprehensive search for all of your current affiliations such as:

• Your Alma Mater
• National or Local Civic Groups
• Non-profits or Charity groups
• Professional Organizations
• Special Interest Groups
• Groups for Your Ideal Target Market

Being a group member allows you to see other group members and to reach out and build relationships.

Research groups for your professional area, for the areas where your best referral sources participate, and where your best clients tend to come from.

Advanced searching in the “People” tab at the top of every LinkedIn® page allows you to find like minded people and see where they are affiliated – both online and offline. This means that you can discover what groups your connections belong to and “Join”. That way you can position yourself in the appropriate communities to be the “Go To” professional in those groups.

Questions & Answers

The Questions & Answers section of LinkedIn® allows you to reach out to people who are asking questions in your area of expertise.

Use Questions & Answers to establish a reputation and grow your professional network.

You can find Questions & Answers by logging into your LinkedIn® Account and clicking on “Answers”.

Browse topics for your area of expertise – i.e. “Law and Legal.”

Answer questions that are being asked in areas where you have something to say.

People read these answers and often reach out to the authors for further clarification or for professional reasons.

If you are particularly technologically adept, you can subscribe, via and RSS Reader, to the sections that most pertain to you. That way you get a regular digest of the questions asked, and can answer them at your convenience. Questions stay open for a minimum of 7 days.

Answers are usually general in nature and quite a few people are asking for referrals to specific kinds of professionals in specific locations. If you can help people connect with an appropriate resource, they will remember you! And your “help” can earn your internal “LinkedIn® Expert” status if your answers are selected as “best.”

The other thing about the Questions & Answers section is that you can reach out and meet other professionals who are working LinkedIn® to form business relationships. Inter-professional referrals can account for up to 25% of an average firm’s referrals. Develop those relationships and watch your firm grow!

A Few Words About Ethical Concerns

We all know that to get good referrals, we need to build relationships with potential clients and referral sources before a matter manifests itself.

Use these strategies to build a presence and a reputation with people so that they approach you. Educate the right people about who you are, what you do, and how you can help them – all without “soliciting”.

When skillfully done, LinkedIn® presents an enormous opportunity for time strapped professionals to do the background work necessary to open the door to new sources of business, new relationships which can result in business, and increased perception as a valued member of the community.

Now go make some money!

Author's Bio: 

Raymond Chip Lambert, of Network2Networth, is a Business Development expert who works exclusively with seasoned professionals to leverage their existing relationships through time tested Business Development strategies and online Social Media strategy thereby unlocking the value of their existing network connections. He can be reached at 602-635-4541 or network2networth.com.

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Raymond Chip Lambert, the Official Guide to Business Networking