Three Values Of Great Salespeople (1)
If you are like most people, you've probably created a LinkedIn profile but are now unsure of exactly what to do with it or how best to use it. In fact, if you are like business owners and professionals, your profile is probably being neglected, rather than working for you as it should.
If you think social media profiles don't matter, consider these facts:
- Over 80 percent of all B2B leads generated by social media come from LinkedIn. (Source: LinkedIn)
- Ninety percent of top-performing salespeople now use social media as part of their sales strategy. (Source: LinkedIn State of Sales Report)
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, consider these key strategies for effective LinkedIn marketing from Melonie Dodaro, blogger for Top Dog Social Media.
1. Explore Opportunities. Begin your LinkedIn marketing strategy by exploring the opportunities that are provided by the platform. There are three main ways of doing this:
- Use advanced search to find prospects
- Go deeper with Boolean search
- Review the connections of your contacts
Start by searching your own network by using the advanced search or by scrolling through your connection list for ideal prospects. Often, your prospects will be connected to people who will also be good prospects and clients. Seeing who your connections are connected to offers an additional opportunity—that is to gain warm introductions. Identify someone you know well enough to ask for an introduction, go to their profile and click on See connections, it's located in the top profile box on the right side of your screen.
This will open their connection list in the advanced search. Click 'All filters,' located at the top, to tighten your search through their connection list. Here you can use the different filters to look specifically for your prospects.
2. Expand Your Network. It is important to expand your network on LinkedIn. Doing so allows you to find and be found by a much larger audience. Three great ways to expand your network include:
- Sending personalized connection requests to prospects
- Connecting with people you've recently met offline
- Join LinkedIn Groups that contain your target market
- Connecting with influencers and others with large networks
Once you have found a prospect you want to connect with, your next step is to send them a connection request. But do not just send the default connection request. If you want to be successful, you must send them a personalized connection request. To do this well you must review the person's profile to learn a little bit about them so that you can appropriately personalize your request in 300 characters (NOT WORDS) or less.
Although LinkedIn Groups are not talked about much anymore, there is a place for them in your LinkedIn marketing strategy. While most people only join groups related to their industry, these groups are likely to include your competitors. The real opportunity lies in expanding your network by joining groups that your ideal clients belong to—even if they are not active in them.
3. Engage Connections. Growing your LinkedIn network is important, but that alone will not generate new leads, clients or sales for you. It is imperative that you engage with your connections and prospects, so you can start to build rapport. Some great ways to engage your new connections include:
- Engaging in conversation after connecting through a private message
- Commenting on their status updates and articles
- Sharing their content when relevant
A great first step to begin starting a conversation with someone after they have accepted your connection request is to simply thank them for connecting and perhaps ask a question that will inspire further dialogue. Whatever you do, do not include anything sales related in your messages. This will turn people off and will not be effective.
4. Establish Relationships. A vital part of your LinkedIn marketing strategy includes establishing a relationship with your connections. There are many ways to begin to establish relationships on LinkedIn:
- Show interest in your connections by learning what's important to them
- Pay attention to the content your connections share and engage when relevant
- Always engage with those who like, comment and share your content
- Be a connector, introduce your connections to each other
You can really show interest in your connections by being engaged in what they are posting, sharing and commenting on their posts. It's also important to reply in a timely fashion to any messages that your connections send you.
Finally, you can be proactive and employ reciprocity in your LinkedIn strategy by introducing two of your connections whom you think could benefit from knowing each other. Helping your connections will build trust and they may be inclined to do the same for you if the opportunity arises.
These steps consist of the highest leveraging social selling activities on LinkedIn, which will produce consistent and reliable results. They are also the most important when building relationships, which has become such a vital part of successful business today
Source: Melonie Dodaro is a Canadian social media expert, author and entrepreneur.