Since I first wrote this article, LinkedIn has grown to as many as 380 million active members with new updates rolling out every now and then. So I’ve updated this article to keep you abreast with the latest on B2B social selling via LinkedIn.
Now, with Part 4, we step into the exciting world of sales, which is the very lifeblood of every business.
[bctt tweet=”Success in sales has largely depended on relationships. “]Establishing rapport, leveraging existing relationships and building new relationships via face-to-face meetings, conferences, social clubs etc. has been the norm. However, lead generation is an impending problem for many.
Pain – Traditional networking doesn’t generate enough leads
In an era where we have to compete just to get the attention of a prospect, networking and lead generation are no easy tasks. Like many of you, I’ve spent countless hours at networking events, some at ungodly hours. After attending many of these, I began to notice the same familiar faces. While this helped strengthen relationships and generate a few leads, I began to see a diminishing return for the time I invested in these events.
That was until I discovered a secret of master sales people and entrepreneurs.
Prescription – Social Selling via LinkedIn
The last few years have seen the sales sphere undergo dramatic changes with the adoption of Web 2.0 and social media. The latter has been singlehandedly responsible for increasing the scale and reach of your networks. [bctt tweet=”Web 2.0 has transformed the way we interact, with the buying process starting and ending online.”] No face-to-face meetings. Social selling (or Sales 2.0), is the response to these changes that have occurred in customer behavior and the buying process.
How does LinkedIn fit into the online social selling landscape?
Consider for a moment that you’ve turned on your laptop on a Monday morning. Logging in to your LinkedIn account you find a “request to connect” from a potential client within your target geographic. You accept his/her request. An hour or two later you get an enquiry from your new connection for information about your products or services, a joint-venture proposal or some other details which could lead to a mutually beneficial business relationship.
This is a classic example of social selling via LinkedIn. Instead of relying on traditional methods such as referrals, you get leads from clients business owners interested in building a relationship with you, with the likelihood of culminating in a sale.
Check out my article on Engaging via LinkedIn to get a grip on how you can use this amazing platform to connect and engage with other professionals. If you haven’t, I strongly recommend that you check it out before continuing with this article.
Along with the tips given in Part 2, there are a number of factors you need to consider as well.
How many of us are guilty of blatantly trying to “sell” when communicating with others on LinkedIn? We don’t like to be sold to and our connections are no exception. When interacting with your contacts, be S.O.C.I.A.L about it!
Remember, it’s called ‘social’ selling for a reason.
Sharing: Look for interesting posts made by others in your network to Like and share. [bctt tweet=”Add value to others’ posts through your comments and by providing feedback.”] Openness: Be open to your readers by openly communicating the benefits of your products and services without appearing pushy. Instead, [bctt tweet=”Relate your product benefits to solving a problem your prospects may be facing in their business. “]Provide recommendations for contacts who served you in any way and ask for recommendations from those you have served. Communication: Research trending topics related to your niche and share posts about these. [bctt tweet=”Add your own twist to a topic or think of a new angle on the subject others may find interesting. “]Get into the habit of using LinkedIn’s Inmail instead of your regular email to communicate with prospects. Intelligence: Use LinkedIn as an intelligence gathering tool. Make it a daily practice to check who has viewed your profile. Search for industry leaders in your niche and view their posts to identify topics of interest you can share. [bctt tweet=”Keep a watch on how your contacts are managing their career. “]You can gain important insights about the industry by following their progress – are they moving up to senior positions in their company or moving out to find alternative employment. Activity: Schedule some time every day to engage on LinkedIn. While you’re there make the best use of your time. Connect with your marketplace and share your activities. Join groups in your niche and actively participate in them. [bctt tweet=”Grow your connections and seek out others you can form joint ventures with.”] Leadership: Communicate your product or service benefits so they are perceived as offering unique solutions to problems in a way no one else does. This way you can [bctt tweet=”Position yourself as a leader in your niche through educational, informative and entertaining shares. “]
Pills – Building TRUST: Your First Step to Social Selling
Building TRUST in the online sphere is becoming increasingly difficult with the number of spammers and unscrupulous businesses. Hence, a strategic approach is essential.
Here are the T.R.U.S.T. Pills you need to take in order to overcome your Pains and harness the power of LinkedIn for successful Social Selling.
Transparency: When communicating with other members, clearly communicate your strengths and limitations. Your prospects will trust you a lot more if you are honest and open. For example don’t pretend to be an expert in website design if your area of specialisation is in developing apps. Relationships: Commit to building relationships with your connections. Actively seek out their LinkedIn posts and comment on them or share them with other members. Ask them about the challenges they are facing in their business. Share articles, videos or other information you feel may help them in their business, so they feel you really care about them. Going a step ahead, you can also join a group or make your own to get closer to your network and the people you like to follow! LinkedIn Groups are a great place to effectively practice social selling and foster stronger a stronger relationships. Uniqueness: Add real value to make your posts unique. Use a mix of infographics, videos and text so your posts are not just interesting, but visually appealing too. This also helps in breaking up the monotony of dull and boring text. Simplicity: Always remember to present information so it is simple to understand. If people are confused, they will click away from your post and not share your posts with their contacts. Timing: Look for subjects of topical interests and create your post around them. For example, accountants can post tax saving tips close to the end of the financial year. Financial institutions can use interest rate changes announced by the Reserve Bank to post about the impact on their mortgage repayments.
There you have it: My Prescription and Pills to help you recover from the Pains of not being able to generate adequate leads for your business.
If you are not sure how well you are doing with respect to your social selling efforts, LinkedIn Social Selling Index can help check out your social selling score an improve you skills.
Taken with the PILLS prescribed in the previous 3 articles, you will be well on your way to enhancing the health of your social selling initiatives.
The final part of the L.E.A.D.S concept (from the PPP series) will help you strategise your social selling initiatives using LinkedIn. Till then, I’ll leave you to put what you’ve learnt thus far into practice. Feel free to drop a comment and tell us how your networking experience has been thus far with LinkedIn and whether you are actively involved in Social Selling.
If you are a small and medium enterprise seeking to improve your social selling skills by mastering LinkedIn and get the most out of this B2B social selling platform, then we can help! We can assist you in developing and maintaining a strong LinkedIn presence allowing you to build a solid online identity, find and connect with the right people, engage effectively and foster stronger and meaningful relationships with your target audience.
Feel free to contact me via LinkedIn or our website for my customised training sessions!
SolomoIT is a digital transformation agency, based in Sydney, Australia, offering fully integrated social, local and mobile marketing solutions.