LinkedIn is today’s primary B2B targeted relationship-building selling tool. Where else can you find your customers, prospects, partners, suppliers, competitors, and thought-leaders talking about key topics and trends in your industry? If you’re not using LinkedIn, you’re missing out!
What’s the big deal? It helps salespeople find, qualify, and close prospects. Why do we say it’s social? Because when you’re building these relationships, you’re starting a foundation of trust. You’re providing good content while answering customers and prospects’ questions online.
You want them to think of you as a valued resource along their buying journey. No, you don’t want them to think of you as somebody standing there with the cash register saying, “BUY FROM ME!” So the question is: Are you optimizing, underutilizing, or even ignoring LinkedIn’s powerful tool?
“Everything you want to be, you already are. You’re simply on the path to discovering it.” –Alicia Keys
This quote tells you, “I have all the information I need to be successful. All I have to do is change the parameters of my search, and I’ll find exactly what I’m looking for.”
Is this something that takes minutes, hours, or days? How fast can somebody have a success story once they get the hang of it?
If you’re new at social selling, give yourself a little bit of time to figure out what parameters you need to set yourself up for the next few months. If you’re a seasoned social selling practitioner, take 10-30 minutes each day to implement this as a daily practice.
“What we dwell on is who we become.” –Oprah Winfrey
I believe that our mindset is vital to our success. If you dwell on things like: “No one will pay the price for this product or service, it’s too expensive!” or “My competition is better, stronger, and faster,” these thoughts will become obstacles created by your inner saboteur. Dwelling on what you want is so much more productive than dwelling on what you’re afraid of.
The point is, if you dwell on becoming an expert, becoming savvy, becoming helpful, and making social selling habits second nature, you will become the expert you want to be.
Having a plan is essential; create whatever type of plan is most productive for you. If your plan starts with your KPIs and customers’ goals and you understand what you want to achieve from social selling, you’ll start seeing positive responses coming in.
When we talk to our customers, we’re not just selling a product or service; we’re also reaching out as human beings. That’s the key to social selling success.
Leverage your network for warm introductions
On LinkedIn, you have the ability to search your prospects to identify mutual connections or TeamLinks (people who work in your company who you aren’t connected to yet).
An IBM preference study indicated that cold calls are 97% ineffective with decision makers. Cold-calling is an age-old strategy that salespeople are told to do. They’re given a prospect list and a target number of calls to make. But the fact is nobody is answering on the other end of the call. Why waste a few hours of a salesperson’s day asking them to make calls that nobody is going to answer?
So if you take serendipity away and put a little bit of AI magic into the sales process through LinkedIn, the dots will get connected a lot quicker. Use TeamLink to find mutual connections that can warm up what would otherwise be a cold call: “Hey Phil, do you mind introducing me to Brynne? There’s a project that we could do together that could bring a lot of value to her.”
An analogy I love: you’re at a dance and you see someone you’d like to meet. Fortunately, you have a friend who knows that person, because it’s a lot easier to get to know someone if you’re introduced by a mutual friend than if you walk over and introduce yourself. Some crazy cats have the courage to approach strangers, but most people are a bit on the shy side, and a warm introduction makes things so much easier!
Another issue that makes cold-calling a problem: the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has made cold-calling illegal in the European Union as a privacy violation. These type of privacy laws are going to start trickling into other parts of the world.
The great news is that LinkedIn Sales Navigator is GDPR-compliant, so it is considered perfectly fine as a way to reach people you don’t know.
Social selling has become such a hot topic that Coffee-Break with Game Changers is dedicating an entire series to exploring its various facets and promoting best practices for salespeople. To listen to other shows in this series, visit the Changing the Game with Social Selling channel.