macbookpro-linkedin

Linkedin could make some serious cash off me if it implemented the feature I’m about to describe. And if you’re an entrepreneur you’d probably pay a pretty penny for it as well.

I need to add a sales ninja to my team. I’d like to hire someone based on a personal referral. So I send out an email to some friends saying “Hey, anyone know a guy or gal who is really good at sales?” Maybe I also contact some of my contacts through Linkedin. And then I wait, and…nothing happens. Nobody gets back to me.

Scenario #2. I run an online marketing firm. I’d like to land new clients. I could post an ad on Linkedin. I could announce to everyone “Hey, I’m looking for SEO client, anyone know anyone looking for SEO services?” And chances are I’ll get more or less nothing, once again.

The thing is I probably have several connections on Linkedin who know great sales people. I’m sure I have several Linkedin connections who are aware of someone looking for SEO services. So why doesn’t Linkedin take advantage of the data they have by creating a referral marketplace? Here’s how it would work.

To find that sales ninja, instead of shooting out an email, I click on “Referral Marketplace” on Linkedin and it asks “Who or what are you looking for?” I tell it I’m looking to hire a sales expert. Linkedin then identifies the sales experts on Linkedin, identifies any with whom I have a mutual connection, and then sends an email to the mutual connection automatically saying “Hey, you know your friend Josh? He’s looking for a sales ninja. Guess what? Your friend Jill is a sales ninja. Maybe you should make an introduction?”

Or on the client side, I tell the Referral Marketplace that I’m looking for more clients for my business. “What kind of business?” Linkedin asks me. “SEO” I tell Linkedin. Linkedin could comb its data to determine who’s looking for SEO services, or most likely to, and then make that suggestion once again, “Hey, your friend Josh would love to find more clients for his SEO business. Your connection Linda works as a VP Marketing, maybe you should make an introduction?”

This does not currently happen on Linkedin. If it does, they’re keeping the feature well-hidden. Would I pay a monthly fee for such a service? If it worked, and there’s no reason it couldn’t, you bet I would. To date, despite being an early user of Linkedin and one of its most active, I don’t think I’ve ever landed a client directly from the service. How much of an increase in value would Linkedin have for me if suddenly I started landing a few thousand dollars worth of work each month from it? Figure this out Linkedin, and you’ll double your revenues overnight.