You may believe that social selling won’t work for your company or industry, but if you take advantage of the 4 pillars to leveraging LinkedIn for business development, you’ll be surprised at how it can help you expand your reach.
Brynne Tillman is the CEO and “LinkedIn Whisperer” of Social Sales Link and the author of The LinkedInSales Playbook and she has spent more than a decade coaching people to unlock the power of the platform.
LinkedIn has its own social selling index so if you visit getmyssiscore.com you get your personal score, out of 100, that will rate your social selling acumen. Your LinkedIn profile is where that lies.
Sellers make the mistake of using their LinkedIn profile as a resume when, in fact, it should be a resource.
Corporate Visions reports that 74 percent of buyers choose the sales rep that provided value and insight early in the buyer journey.
Your profile is their first impression of us, so do it right.
Prospects don’t care about your mission, your passion, or your years in business when they first visit your profile. That may matter down the road, but initially, they care about value. They care about how relevant you are.
Write your summary almost like a blog post. What kind of value can you bring from the first time they read about you?
Identify the challenges that your buyers are facing. Provide three to five insights that will make an immediate impact. Strive to make a “vendor agnostic” impact, meaning that you share insights they can use even if they never buy from you.
Sellers often create this as a pitch and we tell them how to buy from us. What we should do instead is attract them to us. We want them to ask themselves how they can work with us.
This level of value will increase your credibility and move you much more quickly through the sales cycle.
If you sell office furniture, determine who your buyer is and what her biggest challenge is right now. Maybe many companies are expanding and the big challenge is the inability to trade in old furniture to get new stuff.
Determine what helps you stand out and then educate your buyer.
Teach your customer how to buy office furniture in a way that leans toward you as the solution, but provide insights that can help them make better decisions for the company as a whole.
Take advantage of the 4 pillars to leveraging LinkedIn for business development in order to move your prospects toward doing business with you.
Your professional brand is your profile.
By positioning your profile to provide insight and value to your buyers, you are gaining credibility and creating curiosity.
You’re getting them excited to take your phone call. If they can learn something just by visiting your profile, they imagine that a conversation with you will be even more valuable.
Position yourself as the subject matter expert and thought leader.
How are you leveraging LinkedIn to find your buyers and your influencers? If it’s true that there are 6.8 people who are involved in every large buying decision, how are we identifying all the right people within an organization?
Instead of limiting our efforts to just the champion, who else do we want to touch? How are we finding these people and engaging them?
The prospecting piece and the relationship building piece are the same. It’s a combination of providing great value and leveraging our network to get introductions to our targeted prospects and buyers.
Develop search strings which are literally the title of your buyers in whatever geographic location or industry you choose.
How are we sharing content, commenting, and engaging with content? How are we using hashtags to find the right content? Are we feeding our network with really valuable information that moves them closer to our solution?
It’s more than just liking or sharing. LinkedIn wants to see you engaging and sharing and commenting.
Avoid “random acts of social.” Anything we do without intention or purpose is rarely going to see success. Certainly, it won’t succeed on a consistent basis.
Connecting and forgetting is the equivalent of collecting business cards in a stack on the corner of your desk. How valuable is it? That’s not a network.
There’s more value in truly connecting with a few people at a networking event and having meaningful conversations than there is in collecting a business card from everyone present. Bring that same thoughtfulness online.
Start a conversation. Learn about people. Ask questions. Get to know people a little bit. When you do, LinkedIn will be your most valuable networking tool.
Establish what your goals are for social selling. How will you measure success?
If your goal is to have one new client a month, you need four proposals a month. In order to have four proposals, you need to have eight conversations. In order to have eight conversations, you need to have 16 introductions to your targeted buyers.
That means I need four introductions to targeted buyers each week. I must look at my KPIs to see if my 16 is converging to become 8, and then whether my eight is becoming four.
If I need four introductions per week, I probably need to ask for 20. That probably means I need five a day, which could mean five from one person or one from five people.
I need a good network of referral sources and great relationships with my existing clients.
Once you’ve identified those clients who can connect you to other people, you can start this way:
It has been a couple of years since we worked together. I hope you’re still loving your furniture.
I noticed that you’re connected to a few people on LinkedIn that I’m trying to get in front of. Would you mind setting up a 15-minute call where I can read names with you and get your thoughts on whether they might be a good fit?
Two things happen here. If your customer needs more furniture, this is a great way to re-engage without being salesy. You’ll also talk through the list of connections to figure out a way forward.
You can either ask for an introduction or ask for permission to name-drop.
You must continually build engagement with your customers so that you maintain those connections even after the sale.
If you’re looking for new contacts, start with your second-degree connections because at least you have some people in common.
It doesn’t feel quite as cold that way and there are things you can do to warm them up before you actually reach out. Look at the profile. Click the “more” button on the profile and click the “follow” button. The person will get the notification that you followed him.
Look at his recent activity. Read it. Engage with it. If there is something there, begin a conversation by engaging with the information he shared.
Now you’ve engaged, followed, and the person keeps getting notifications about you. He’ll likely be curious because your name keeps appearing.
It’s a little bit like flirting.
Don’t jump in and pitch immediately. Provide value.
Build relationships. Get a consistent stream of great content that helps your prospect understand the importance of choosing the right office furniture.
Once you’ve developed a conversation, you can offer a pitch when appropriate.
Don’t just build a network that doesn’t know you. Create content, but realize that it doesn’t have to be a blog post. Consider native video, podcasting, and interviews.
Don’t just generate noise, though. Use the 4 pillars to leveraging LinkedIn for business development to make sure it’s worth their click.
The best way to connect with Brynne is on LinkedIn. Let her know that you found her on The Sales Evangelist podcast and she’ll send additional resources. You can also grab a copy of The LinkedInSales Playbook.
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Donald is the host of the popular sales podcast,"The Sales Evangelist". He is the founder of The Sales Evangelist Consulting Firm where he helps small companies develop killer sales process to scale their business and increase growth. Donald is also an award-winning speaker, sales trainer, and coach. He's a big fan of traveling, South Florida staycations and high-quality family time. Donald has a belief that “anyone” can sell if they have the desire and receives the proper training.