So, you're finally on LinkedIn, just like everyone has told you to be. Congratulations! But ... now what exactly are you supposed to do?

Well, people will tell you that you have two options. 

You may choose to be a Power Networker, connecting to clients, colleagues, and high-value leads you encounter in your daily affairs. Or, you may choose to be a Power Researcher, harnessing the signal of smart, actionable intelligence that comes your way via LinkedIn Navigator with minimal setup effort. 

Regardless, you should also know that, whether or not you act on the opportunities, others (including potential clients!) are making something of your LinkedIn presence. 

People who matter to the growth of your book of business are now checking you out, evaluating your credentials and the entire story of your professional life, on the world's largest business network. 

(Ask most in-house attorneys what they do first when they become aware of a potential new outside counsel, and you get the point. All of the studies show: GCs evaluate potential attorneys by looking at their LinkedIn profile.) 

That is to say: your LinkedIn profile works for you, regardless of what else you do on the platform - and that is the basis of your third option of what to do next.

...all of the studies show: GCs evaluate potential attorneys by looking at their LinkedIn profile.

This is why one of my favorite LinkedIn Navigator features is the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” function. It’s a great way to see who is interested in me, who has spent time on my profile vetting my experience, activities, and other professional credentials.

You should be interested in finding out who is looking at your profile because often that’s where relationships are born. Someone wants to learn more about you; that's an opening you shouldn't ignore. 

So what to do when someone views your profile? Set aside an hour or so each week for these three things: 

1. Learn more about who is interested in you

When you get an alert that someone has looked at your LinkedIn profile, your first reflex should be to learn as much as you can about the person who wants to know more about you. 

...your first reflex should be to learn as much as you can about the person who wants to know more about you. 

Their company, role, and shared connections all give you a perspective on the value of establishing a relationship with that person. Some questions to ask as you go through the list:

  • Is this person in a position to hire me or my firm?
  • What legal work might this person or her company need? 
  • Can she help me achieve my goals?
  • Can I help her?
  • Who do we both know?  
  • Have I represented people that she knows? 

Click “View in Sales Navigator” to see an organized overview of their information that emphasizes shared connections, ways to get in touch, and recent LinkedIn activity, all of which help you understand the relationship opportunity they present. 

Note, too, that Navigator gives you a complete list of who viewed your profile over the last 90 days. Here is where you get the full picture of who is interested in you on LinkedIn.

2. Organize and prioritize your connections and leads 

A long list of people who’ve looked at your profile is interesting, but not particularly useful. 

It helps to sort them into broad categories – like “clients,” “targets,” “thought leaders,” “important connections” and other relevant groupings – then to prioritize based on urgency or the potential opportunity they present. 

Save the people who present the highest potential for meaningful relationships to your Navigator account. Follow their posts on LinkedIn, their shares of competitive intelligence, the developments at their companies and industry. You’ll gain a valuable perspective on their priorities and objectives. You’ll learn from the information they share.

Most importantly, you’ll be able to use that knowledge to enhance your relationship and be a more valued resource when they need assistance. 

3. Become a valuable resource

Networking is a contact sport. To be successful, you must initiate conversations, offer assistance, and make connections for the people who are – and those who should be – in your network. 

And you should do it without specific expectations. 

In fact, your first goal shouldn’t be to get something in return, but to become a valued resource to the people who might be able to help you at some point in the future.  Get by giving first.

And always customize your request to connect with a personal message.

Your outreach makes sense if it is thoughtful. Frame your initial message in a way that makes it clear you have spent some time thinking about the person with whom you want to connect. Mention something you have in common.

This remains true of your later communications, as well. Reach out to offer assistance to people you already know. Answer questions others may have posed on their LinkedIn feed. Focus not on generating new work but rather on turning the people who look at your profile into relationships that offer meaningful business development opportunities. The work will come later, once the relationships have been established. 


By following this tip, you will be taking advantage of how you are already passively present on LinkedIn, turning the attention you get from that presence into actual action items. This is a great place to start, and soon you'll be doing what your competition already does on LinkedIn: sharing content, engaging in conversations, organizing and tracking leads using Navigator, and other such business development activities.

Got a pro tip on how you use LinkedIn Navigator for business development purposes? Send it my way for inclusion in this series!


[Samantha McKenna is Head of Sales, Enterprise, NYC at LinkedIn. Follow her for her latest writings on law firm BD on JD Supra. Connect with Sam on LinkedIn to see how Navigator can transform your firm's growth efforts.]