While people look to LinkedIn for job opportunities, references and pure networking, it also serves as a great platform to grow your business.

Over the past couple of months, I have been meeting with hundreds of mentors through my accelerator programs to help scale my startup Alumnify, an alumni-engagement platform. And while they have offered a plethora of amazing advice to help shape my strategy in product development, sales, marketing and team building, one of the most helpful conversations that stood out to me was my recent talk with Alex Pirouz, the founder of Linkfluencer, a company focused on helping business owners grow their business using LinkedIn.

Through working with Pirouz, I have had many key takeaways around our sales and marketing strategies but none as profound as the knowledge he shared on how to use LinkedIn to grow our business.

Now whether you are looking to test customer feedback or are trying to increase your sale’s efficiency, here are six LinkedIn lessons I’ve learned that can help build your business:

1. Exterminate inefficiencies. When we started cold calling universities for Alumnify we usually would have to go through a chain of command just to get the right person on the line. Most of the time when we got to the correct person we would be led to their voicemail. This strategy was a huge time sucker and caused major headaches.

Related: 10 Questions to Ask When Creating Your LinkedIn Company Page

Pirouz pointed out that by going directly to LinkedIn, you can save a lot of time by connecting directly. Just make sure before you reach out to people, you aren't now wasting their time. Have your message down pat and your connections correct (don't reach out to everyone in one company). pointed that by using networks such as LinkedIn you no longer have to worry about getting to the right person and waste time leaving useless voicemails when you can connect with them directly through LinkedIn.

2. Take advantage of advanced search. The first part about generating sales is knowing how to find your customer. LinkedIn’s advanced search feature lets you filter results by industry, demographic, company size, position and much more. This will save you much more time than having to manually look up the names of your potential customers.

If you do have a couple extra bucks to spare, you might want to consider signing up for the premium option, which allows you to drill down more and reach more people.

3. Make quality connections. Before sending someone a request to connect, make sure they are legit by checking out their profile. The key factors to look for is a professional picture, at least 150 connections and a summary of their career history. Without having these three factors, it is probable that the person you are about to connect with does not use LinkedIn very often. Because of this, you will waste a connection by requesting them and never get a response (or if you do, it won't be as frequent). Additionally, connecting with people who have a higher number of LinkedIn connections allows you to expand your network much further and build meaningful long-term relationships. 

Related: 17 Must-Have Features on Your LinkedIn Profile (Infographic)

4. Make your messages personal. Never send generic messages when sending an invitation to connect with someone. It comes across as spam, and if you don’t have anything in common with that person or can provide value to them you really don’t have business messaging them. Instead, always make the message personal. Let the person you’re connecting with know you have an interest in their business specifically and are not just trying to sell to anyone who will listen.

5. Don’t stop at a connection. Once someone accepts your invitation to connect, don’t wait for them to message you. Usually, if you are the one who sends a LinkedIn request, your potential customer will expect you to follow up and take the next steps. If they have accepted your invitation, ask them when they have time for an initial phone call or meeting to discuss any potential opportunities going forward.

6. Look to help.The goal of LinkedIn is make meaningful connections that will help your career and allow you to help others. Don’t just look to sell a product by getting in touch with a potential customer. Find other ways to help them either get in contact with one of your connections or offer them advice if you both have experience in a similar industry.

Don’t abuse LinkedIn by just using it for your own interest, you’ll make more meaningful connections by first finding ways to help your connections by going past the value your product brings.

Related: LinkedIn Tips: 10 Ways to Get the Most Out of Your Network