LinkedIn is one of, if not the most effective social networks for selling. Whilst Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Snapchat are valuable tools to learn more about your prospect’s interests and personality, warm them up before you reach out, and build your subject matter expertise, LinkedIn is typically the platform that’s more likely to lead to new business.
You might connect with a prospect on Thursday, book them for a call the following Tuesday, give them a demo that Friday, and close before the weekend. But you won’t get those results without a well thought out and planned LinkedIn social selling strategy.
LinkedIn Profile Tips for Salespeople
Because you’re in sales, you’re targeting a completely different audience than most professionals. You want to appeal to prospects, not hiring managers and recruiters.
That means your profile shouldn’t show off how great you are at selling. Do you think customers care you’ve hit your target for last 5 years or broke the record for the largest ever deal?
Of course they don’t and in fact, these details only remind them you’re a sales person which may make them suspicious about your motives. So what do they care about? One thing: How you helped customers similar to them.
There’s a simple formula for creating a memorable, eye-catching LinkedIn headline:
“[Title], helping [prospects] do X.”
For instance, you might use “Sales Exec, helping SMBs adopt inbound marketing,” or “Salesperson, helping small businesses go digital.”
Your summary should be one paragraph, two maximum. Prospects are usually skimming your profile, so anything longer won’t be read. Describe your role, your unique value proposition, and why you’re passionate about the job. And don’t be afraid to give your summary a little personality. You want readers to feel like they know you already.
LinkedIn Role Descriptions
Under your current position, you might write:
Work with businesses in X, Y, and Z industries to reduce manufacturing defects by 3% on average
Help customers reduce costs by £500,000
Achieve 100% passing rate for safety standards for customers
These accomplishments tell a potential buyer that you can have a positive impact on their business. If they believe that, they’re more likely to accept your connection request, respond to your InMail, or agree to a call.
LinkedIn Profile Picture
Definitely! According to LinkedIn, simply having a picture, any picture makes your profile 14 times more likely to be viewed. Which makes sense. If you’re represented by a generic icon, you look like a spammer.
The more fleshed out your profile is, the more credible and legitimate you’ll seem. Add your Twitter, Facebook, and (if you use them professionally), Snapchat and Instagram profiles. Your email and phone number should be visible as well, along with your company website.
How to Prospect on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is a lead generation goldmine and there are several strategies for finding prospects.
Thanks to LinkedIn’s vast user base, the ability to see mutual connections, and wide variety of filters, search is the most powerful and well-known way to identify potential customers.
Consider LinkedIn Sales Navigator if you’ll be doing a fair amount of prospecting on the platform.
“People Also Viewed” Sidebar
Once you’ve found a prospect, navigate to their profile and find the “People Also Viewed” box in the right-hand column of their profile. As they say, “The friend of my prospect is another prospect.”
Your Customers’ Connections
Looking for referrals? After you’ve closed a deal, look out for status updates and posts from the customer stakeholders, especially your champion. When other LinkedIn users comment or like their content, investigate them to see if they’re a qualified prospect. Then ask your current customer for an introduction or simply contact them directly (don’t forget to mention your mutual connection).
LinkedIn Sales Navigator users can take advantage of Lead Builder, a powerful feature that lets you “save” prospects as leads. Their updates and posts will appear directly on your homepage — so you can warm them up with comments and likes and find a relevant, timely reason to reach out.
Let’s say your ideal customer is a product marketer at a medium-size consumer goods company in the UK. Rather than periodically running a search for that type of prospect, set up a saved search. Every day, week, or month (depending on your preference), LinkedIn will send you an email alert with new search results. Essentially, you’re getting a steady stream of pre-qualified prospects right in your inbox.
To reach hundreds and potentially thousands of prospects, publish a LinkedIn Pulse post with advice or insights on a common pain point your customers face. Tag several coworkers, business acquaintances, and/or customers in the comments to encourage some debate and make the post more visible.
Then wait for prospects to begin commenting. Since you’re discussing an issue that directly concerns them, there’s a good chance most of the participants will have a need for your product.
How to Research on LinkedIn
Your prospect’s LinkedIn profile tells you basic but essential facts like their title and company, primary responsibilities, job tenure, location, and industry.
It may also give you insight into their personality, interests, and preferred communication style. After skimming their summary and recommendations, try to gauge their character. How do others describe them? How do they describe themselves?
Articles & Activity shows your prospect’s content in chronological order. You can see which posts they’ve liked, commented on, and/or published themselves. If they haven’t written any articles, this section will be titled “Activity.”
These sections give you a feel for their personal and professional interests.
How to Sell on LinkedIn
Now that your profile is up to par and you know how to look up and connect with leads on LinkedIn, let’s discuss how to use the platform to land the sale.
Share valuable content.
First and foremost, you should be sharing valuable, engaging content that is relevant to your ideal customer. You can share original content created by you and your company, relevant insights from thought leaders in your ideal customer’s industry, or a combination of both. Your goal should be to share information that addresses the main challenge or problem your prospects are looking to overcome.
When your ideal customers or prospects see content that feels relevant to their predicament, they may feel more inclined to engage, and it helps build trust and rapport with you and your company priming your contacts for the sale.
2. Join LinkedIn groups that serve your target audience.
There are over 2 million active groups on LinkedIn. By joining LinkedIn groups, you can expand your potential reach and LinkedIn network, making it possible for those in the group to connect with you and view your profile even if you don’t have any mutual connections.
Within groups, you can use search functionality to filter members by job title, geographic location, and industry, making it easier to find your ideal customers.
Don’t limit yourself by only joining groups relevant to your industry. Seek out groups that your ideal customers belong to and be an active, engaged member of the groups you join.
3. Personalise connection requests.
When sending connection requests to prospects or individuals you don’t know personally, including a personalised message is critical. By sending a personalised request you provide context telling this individual why they should add you to their network, and it can help you stand out in a sea of generic requests.
The note doesn’t have to be incredibly detailed, but it should provide some context for your connection.
4. Facilitate meaningful conversations.
Once you connect with a prospect on LinkedIn, keep the conversation going. While it may not be ideal to go in for the sale right away, you’ll want to stay in touch so you remain on their radar. The personalised message you sent when making your connection request can serve as a good conversation starter.
You can also keep the conversation going by engaging with their posts, and sharing content they may be interested in with them.
5. Take conversations offline.
After spending some time building rapport, don’t be afraid to take the conversation offline. When you feel the prospect is ready to begin having more serious sales conversations, offer to set up a phone call or meeting time to learn more about their concerns and offer solutions on behalf of your company.
If you’re looking for more help in improving how you sell, check out our other blogs or our online, on demand sales training programme EPIC Selling, or of you simply want to explore how we might be able to help you, then get in touch.
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