LinkedIn offers multiple avenues to cut through your prospects’ inbox clutter and build your reputation as a trusted member of their community. Here are three ways you can leverage LinkedIn to close more deals.
Decision makers get between 200 to 300 emails a day, but they only get one to five LinkedIn InMails a day. This means if you’re that that one InMail, you’re more likely to get noticed! The great thing about an InMail:
- It’s going to hit their inbox rather than spam because it’s not a bad email address.
- You know they’re more likely to see it because there’s a lot less noise in InMails.
When you send someone an email, it’s probably going to get buried by the other 200 emails they get. But when you send an InMail, they’ll see your profile and your mutual connections, which you likely have when prospecting in the same ecosystem. With email, all they see is your email address. They don’t know who you are; if you have a fancy subject line that catches their attention, then great, you might get a reply, but chances are you’ll still be buried by the 200 other emails.
I tell my trainees: would you rather be the one in 200 or the one in five? And, if you want to be the one in five, you need to make it personal. It could be about a mutual hobby, college, connection, or experience. There’s a lot you can find out about people through their LinkedIn or Twitter profiles.
Remember to curate your words, too. When people hear the word “meet” they think: “Oh gosh, I have to sit through another demo.” But if you say something like “connect” or “network,” it is much less stressful to accept the InMail and respond.
Another tip: be truthful. If you’re prospecting a company that you don’t like or you haven’t shopped at before, don’t tell them you’re a big fan.
Another way to use LinkedIn that should produce even better results: using a referral. Data shows that 84% of B2B deals start with a referral. So, find someone who can introduce you to your prospect, either through LinkedIn TeamLink or first-degree connections. Get them to help you build that relationship before you ever talk to the prospect.
Keep your request for a referral brief, explain why you want to get in touch with the prospect, and give the referrer the opportunity to say no. Remember, the person you’re asking for the referral may just forward your request to the prospect in question, so write your message with the prospect’s interests in mind, too.
The third approach is to engage in the community and be part of the discussion with the people who are in your ecosystem.
Social branding is not about being famous, but it’s about being selectively famous. It’s about understanding the decision makers and influencers who need to know you and always being visible and delivering value to them. That’s what branding is about. It’s about understanding what makes you great and using that to help other people be successful.
One of the places where the community can be engaged is in LinkedIn Groups. You can join a group with maybe 10,000 to 20,000 like-minded people all focused on a specific topic. You can start to engage in conversations and build your reputation and connections with people who need to know you.
Focus your conversations on how you deliver value. For example, I recently read on BBC about the rise in Facebook users despite privacy scandals; if I think people in one of my groups might benefit from that information, I might share it with that group and add my point of view. Just sharing content doesn’t have a lot of value, but if I add my point of view and explain why I think they should check out this article, I’m delivering value to a network of 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, or 40,000 people. The more regularly I do that, the more I become part of that community – and I think that’s how the magic happens! You have a vast network of people who know who you are because you’re constantly delivering value to them.
To build a reputation as a trusted adviser and subject matter expert – that’s not just built on your LinkedIn profile – that’s built on the conversations you’re part of and how much value you bring to those conversations.
Top salespeople have mastered how to use social networks to grow revenue potential, exceed quota, prospect efficiently, and maintain a robust pipeline by playing by each social network’s etiquette rules. Learn more by listening to “Mining For Golden Nuggets: LinkedIn for Digital Selling” on Changing the Game with Digital Selling hosted by Bonnie D. Graham.