How do you approach sales on Linkedin? How can you master social selling on Linkedin? LinkedIn has changed the way businesses sell to each other, and if you’re not using it correctly, you’re doing yourself and your company a huge disservice.
In this article, we’ll look at how you can leverage LinkedIn for strategic outreach to target prospects and how to reach key decision makers. Mastering social selling on Linkedin will not only improve your digital marketing, but will also help also build your personal brand in the process.
The first step in learning how to use social selling effectively is connecting with people on Linkedin. You can do so by updating your LinkedIn profile, starting LinkedIn groups, or following prospects.
If you’re looking for a job or business opportunity, it’s important that you make sure your LinkedIn profile includes as much relevant information as possible.
It should be brief and easy to scan but include information like who you’ve worked for, where you went to school, what courses/certifications you have, and any professional associations you belong to.
Do not spam people that aren’t relevant; most professionals are not impressed with canned messages from Linkedin marketers trying to sell them something.
In order to start social selling on Linkedin, you need people to follow and engage with. Research your peers in your industry and connect with them.
The more people you know personally, or at least professionally, the easier it will be for you to learn about their problems, interests, and challenges.
You can also get involved in LinkedIn groups that are centered around your niche or even join a group that helps people navigate Linkedin better.
It’s a great way to begin social selling on Linkedin because it puts you in touch with tons of relevant prospects who might have never noticed you otherwise.
It’s always best when someone knows who you are before they hear from you professionally as it will make them more likely to listen and take action later if needed.
Whether you’re looking for a job or seeking out business development opportunities, there’s one thing that will set you apart from your peers: your professional profile.
And it doesn’t have to be complicated. There are some simple steps every salesperson can take to make sure their LinkedIn profile stands out as an effective sales tool.
You’ve heard it a thousand times: Your professional photo is your calling card. This could not be more true with social media; most people will view your personal profile on LinkedIn before deciding whether or not they want to engage with you professionally.
It pays to have a high-quality headshot taken by a professional photographer that portrays you as professional, approachable, and smart.
After all, if you have a quality profile photo on hand, you can use it for both your personal and professional profiles.
Make sure your job title explains what you do in your current company and how you provide value.
For example, if you’re a salesperson, make sure your job title is Sales Representative or Account Executive.
If you are in marketing, use terms like Marketing Director or Social Media Consultant.
This information will help people searching for sales representatives or marketers know exactly what they can expect from someone with those titles.
Your summary is also very important. It’s best if you include your personal brand statement in your summary, as well as what sets you apart from other salespeople (your USP or Unique Selling Proposition).
You should also include information about yourself that’s important for a salesperson, like past companies, work experience or education and, of course, a geographic location.
Don’t forget about skills! Adding at least three or four key skills or competencies that are relevant to your industry will increase your chances of being found when potential customers conduct a search.
You can also make sure your profile is easy for people who aren’t already familiar with you to understand by providing some background information about yourself.
Your headline should be catchy and clear, so potential clients know exactly what you do for a living in less than 10 words.
And don’t forget: Always list sales-related experience or achievements first, not things like personal interests or hobbies.
Your company website and email address should also be included in your profile, as well as a contact phone number. Potential prospects can then easily find more information about you, or connect with you if they want to learn more about your services or products.
Remember: incomplete LinkedIn profiles lead to fewer sales conversations.
A big mistake many people make when attempting to master lead generation and social selling is that they treat it like a chore. Remember, you’re not always trying to sell. Sometimes you’re just looking for opportunities for conversation.
To inject personality into your interactions, be clever and relevant with your questions. Before asking them, give some thought as to how you might strike up a conversation or engage someone in discussion by way of it.
Controversial opinions and arguments do have their place. We’re not suggesting you take a saccharine, non-offensive stance about everything.
Sometimes it can be appropriate to express an opinion that could be regarded as shocking or controversial (within reason of course).
But if you want to ensure your sales process is smoother, try steering clear of bold statements that won’t resonate with everyone and might come across as disingenuous.
Some people will disagree with what you say, but try not to push it too far. It can detract from your credibility and make prospects defensive, which can make closing deals more difficult.
It’s not enough to just have a profile. To get more leads, find new prospects and make sales from your Linkedin network, you need to actually send them a connection request.
Your connections are your prospects, and if you don’t take time to reach out and stay in touch with them, they won’t be able to refer business your way.
To master social selling, you need to know how to connect to people effectively and with purpose. You can start by searching for prospects in your target market who might be interested in having a sales conversation with you.
If you want to make a really good impression, it’s a good idea to personalize your connection request. You can do that by starting with "John, I’d like to add you on Linkedin because..." Once they agree, make sure you stay in touch with them. It could be as simple as asking them how they are and what they are up to.
It’s also a good idea to mention mutual connections. If you do, it means you are being personal. That can create some interest in what you have to say.
Plus, if they recognize mutual connections on LinkedIn, it might prompt them to want more information about you or your business.
If They Don't Know You, Tell Them: It’s easy to think that everyone who matters in your industry knows who you are, but that isn’t always true.
Some people don’t follow or pay attention, so it's a good idea to be proactive about letting them know who you are and what you do.
Plus, if they have no idea who you are when they come across your profile, it might make them question why they should connect with you in the first place. That could put a quick end to any relationship before it even starts.
Sales professionals know that you should never try to make a sale in your first message. That’s not what social selling is about.
Instead, it’s better to connect with people and let them know that you are there for support and information whenever they need it.
Building rapport with new connections will allow you to become a trusted adviser and gives more credibility than just a sales pitch.
You need to prove that you are there for them before they are going to hand over their money, especially if they don’t know who you are.
As you craft your profile, post status updates and engage connections, it’s important to keep a couple of things in mind.
First, don’t expect everything you do on Linkedin to result in immediate sales.
Not all your LinkedIn connections are prospects, either.
Selling online is about building relationships with potential customers; it’s not necessarily about closing a sale at that exact moment.
While these posts may not directly lead to sales, they can help build trust and open up new lines of communication with your potential clients.
Those conversations will be invaluable when it comes time for you reach out with more direct sales efforts. Remember: selling isn’t a one-time activity; it’s an ongoing process that encompasses multiple touch points over time.
It’s natural to reach out to people who engaged with your content. For example, after you post content, many Linkedin users will respond directly to your updates with comments.
If they make a point that you think is useful, relevant or insightful, you can send them a thank-you note by clicking reply under their message and replying directly.
These brief conversations are an easy way to start building better relationships. The other person is flattered that you took time out of your day to let them know how much you appreciated their input, and in return they may be more willing when it comes time for taking the conversation offline and actual selling.
Start working on your personal branding and become a thought leader - writing original content with relevant insights for your contacts might just be a great way to grow your network expand your business, find buyers and make more sales.
Getting published in an industry publication gives you instant credibility, helps build relationships and lets people know that you’re a subject matter expert worth talking to.
On top of that, if others decide to share or link back to your work, all those eyeballs are exposed (and possibly converted) to what you have going on online.
Putting yourself out there takes some serious courage; be careful not to stray into self-promotion territory.
Linkedin Publisher, one of many LinkedIn sales solutions, is free, so there’s no excuse not to try it out. The trick with Linkedin Publisher is that you want to give your target audience a reason to follow you and engage with your valuable content, but you don’t want them thinking they can buy anything from your posts.
No matter what kind of business you’re in, there’s a way for you and your brand to provide value through articles that readers will love, learn from and hopefully share or comment on.
If you don’t see yourself as a writer yet, take some time (and ask for help if needed) before publishing something!
Sending a direct personalized message on Linkedin is often more effective than messaging someone in their inbox.
It makes you stand out and less like one of those annoying sales reps they get messages from every day.
If they know who you are and what your business does, send them personalized messages telling them about industry events coming up that could be of interest to them or an opportunity for collaboration.
The mistake many people make when they first start prospecting on Linkedin is to not personalize their messages.
A good way to avoid that? Know your target audience.
Before you get started with LinkedIn messaging look at their LinkedIn profile, research about what you might have in common with them, and tailor your message around that point of connection.
In general, you should be trying to humanize all your connections—so remember that it's all about them.
On LinkedIn, you can request recommendations from your connections. These recommendations can be added as endorsements under your profile picture, and they are a key component of an effective professional brand.
Recommendations on LinkedIn also strengthen your profile because they add context to who you are and what value you provide. This is especially true if you take time to add a customized recommendation request message.
However, while it is critical that you ask for recommendations on LinkedIn , it is equally important that you give them—even more so than other forms of social selling such as sharing content or posting updates in groups.
On top of that, each recommendation provides you with an opportunity to reach out and make a meaningful connection with another member of your network.
This is especially true if you give recommendations to others in return. People appreciate receiving personalized recommendations from those they know and trust, so take some time every month or two to let your connections know how much their support means to you.
You may even want to add custom text in your profile asking for recommendations.
A surefire way to deepen your relationship with a contact is by asking for introductions and referrals. Use social media sites like Linkedin as a tool for professional networking.
The best part? It’s so easy!
Linkedin users can do it in a few easy steps. Asking for referrals or warm introductions is a sure way to deepen your relationship with contacts you already have, and makes your network work for you by increasing sales through recommendations.
Plus, people are more likely to refer or recommend you if they’ve made an investment in you first. If someone has given you their contact information and time, it’s always worth asking them for some referrals too!
Another great strategy is to ask current connections: customers, vendors or even other mutual connections in your network if they know of anyone who could use your services.
LinkedIn Sales Navigator is LinkedIn's paid sales solution. Its advanced search functionality helps you find prospects and create better sales opportunities.
It is designed for people who use Linkedin as their main way of making sales. You can use it to find buyers by doing searches based on job title, company name and other keywords.
You can also see if any of your contacts or connections has a relationship with that prospect -- so you can reach out directly. Sales Navigator makes it easy to schedule calls and meetings right from your inbox, too.
Sales Navigator is a powerful suite of sales tools integrated into Linkedin. It makes your networking more effective by adding automatic contact information retrieval and deep search abilities that lets you hone in on prospect data easily and help make LinkedIn sales faster.
Advanced search function to target buyers, which allows you to search using job title and company name.
For example, if you know your prospect is an executive at Company X, you can search for prospects who work there by typing in 'Company X' and selecting it from a drop-down menu.
There's also an advanced tool that lets you import your email database so that Sales Navigator can send a connection request to people who are in your database but aren't already connected with you -- even if they don't have public profiles on Linkedin yet.
A social selling index is a way for an individual and their network to measure how effectively they’re using Linkedin as a business tool.
The best way to do that is by asking yourself questions like, How often am I reaching out to potential connections? or Are my connections interested in what I have to say?
If you find that you aren’t communicating with your network on a regular basis, then it may be time to take a look at your profile and see if there are ways that you can make improvements.
By doing so, you can increase your visibility within your professional circle while demonstrating your professionalism in an effective manner.
It should also be noted that not all interactions are created equal.
For example, publishing articles about relevant topics will most likely lead to more meaningful relationships than simply adding someone who works for a company of interest.
While initially you might feel less connected when compared to more casual interactions, it’s those sustained relationships that will help push your career forward much faster than occasional reach-outs.
Since no two professionals (or companies) share identical interests, Linkedin also allows users to join groups based on commonalities.
From here users can explore specialized topics in order to expand their understanding of a given industry or topic.
The short answer is yes, and you should use it to your advantage. But as with all sales tactics, there’s a right way and a wrong way. There are a few ways you can leverage LinkedIn for lead generation, but some techniques might not work in your situation. Know your audience!
As with any professional network, Linkedin is an excellent place to connect with like-minded professionals and thought leaders. But it can also be a valuable tool for direct sales, provided you have a solid strategy in place. Here are some tips for increasing your social selling capabilities on Linkedin.
It’s all about engagement: The best sales professionals understand that their top priority is staying connected with others in their industry. By participating regularly in online discussions on LinkedIn and posting valuable content (high-quality articles or questions), you help get more leads and ensure that others know who you are while remaining front of mind whenever they’re looking for further guidance.
Additionally, sharing relevant content will help build up trust and credibility between yourself and prospective clients or customers—and make them more likely to reach out when they need something from you.
First, update your LinkedIn profile and start building your personal brand. This will make you look more professional and help you stand out from other users. Also, add your company website, if you have one, or include links to a relevant resource. Make sure these pages are optimized for search engines because they can be very helpful in terms of generating traffic when prospects search for related information on Google or Bing.
Join LinkedIn groups and post articles that relate to your line of work on a regular basis. This is an excellent way to demonstrate thought leadership and prove that you’re knowledgeable about your industry. It also increases your chances of being recommended by someone who reads it.
Contact as many people as possible with high-quality messages. You should always keep track of all networking contacts so you know whom you’ve spoken with recently. If a new prospect doesn’t respond after two or three attempts, move on and remember them for future contact opportunities such as sharing a case study or inviting them to industry events or webinars.
Don't treat your LinkedIn profile as a CV - unless you're searching for a job and your goal is to attract hiring managers. Instead, treat it as a personal landing page where you showcase your skills and list the benefits you can bring to your prospects' organizations.
The Social Selling Index is LinkedIn’s way of showing how likely you are to make an impact on a sales organization through your social presence. It looks at your profile, connections, and activity on LinkedIn and then gives you a numerical score.