Chances are, you’re one of the several hundred million professionals that already have a LinkedIn account. For most people, LinkedIn is a kind of Facebook for job hunting. They use it when they’re looking for a job, and forget about it once they’ve found employment. But the site actually offers much more if you take the time to use it to its fullest extent.

Finding clients and making sales may end up coming down to the connections you have, and there’s no better place than LinkedIn for making those connections. As an energy broker, you probably already have to work to introduce clients to your service. So how do you go about making sales with your LinkedIn account? One of the best ways is by using LinkedIn groups.

First, you’ll have to build the network of connections that you already have in place. If you aren’t already a regular user of LinkedIn, you may only have connections with people you already know—co-workers from past and current jobs, friends, and family. But this isn’t going to get you as far as you’d like. LinkedIn groups are communities within LinkedIn that focus on a particular topic or interest. By joining these groups, or creating your own, you’re immediately making connections with people who may need your service, or are at least in the same industry.

Another great way to use these LinkedIn groups is to turn your cold call into something more effective. For most people, cold calling is a painful, but necessary, part of their sales. The success rate is low, and knowing practically nothing about the person on the on the other end makes them pretty uncomfortable for your average caller. In a newly deregulated market, you may be making a lot of cold calls trying to show businesses why they need your services. With LinkedIn, you can have conversations with a person within the group, then view their profile before you call, and get enough information so that you don’t feel like you’re flying blind when you call them up. And LinkedIn sends a notification letting that person know you’ve viewed their profile. Sometimes, seeing that notification can prepare them for your call. They know you’re interested, and they can check out your profile, as well.

You can also use LinkedIn groups to find out who you actually need to be targeting inside the business. Using employees profiles, it may be possible to figure out who the decision makers are, and who you’re going to need to influence to make a sale. Chances are it won’t be just one person, and if you do a little sleuthing, you can save yourself some time and energy by approaching the right people. LinkedIn also gives you a better way to search for these people. You can filter your search by title, company, location, or keyword, and mixing these filters allows you to find who you need much quicker.

At BOX, we understand the complicated nature of the energy business, and our goal is to help you get the best prices for your clients. If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your energy brokerage, contact Brokerage Online Exchange today.