10 Tips for Developing Sales Through Linkedin

10 Tips for Developing Sales Through Linkedin

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1. You don’t sell you research, engage and network

This is really important. By changing your mindset from driving a sale to proactively nurturing a relationship through steady, online social networking, you are increasingly more likely to develop sustainable sales leads which you can service online or take offline in a more traditional way. The trick begins with the way you consider your sales process to work. If you think sales is about door knocking, cold calls and closing the deal then look away from Linkedin. If your definition of selling is about creating mutually beneficial relationships for the long term then you are in the right place.

2. Optimise your personal profile with skills keywords and a full title

It’s more than just an online CV. Make sure you include all of your qualifications and credentials and vitally, seek testimonials and recommendations from each and every one of your satisfied customers. Confidence builds in the eye of the beholder when they don’t consider they are the guinea pig for your sales pitch. If they can see others have been before them and come through their engagement with you with positive outcomes then all will be well. Think carefully about the kinds of words your target customers would use to search for you, your products or services and include them in your profile and title. Many people just put a simple title in their profile but you’ll see there are lots of characters available so make full use of them.

3. Think about your personal picture to convey your personal brand

You would never walk into a room of people with your business card or sales literature covering your face so why do it in Linkedin. Choose a clear, close-up, approachable photo as your profile picture and be proud of it. Make sure you use it everywhere that you need a profile online so it demonstrates a consistent personal brand. Make yourself instantly recognisable in the real world. Think carefully about what you are wearing in the picture. Is a suit and tie appropriate or something more casual. Be comfortable but remember it is what the customer or prospect wants to see rather than what you want to show.

4. Use Slideshare to highlight your key presentations

If you have a sales presentation then load it into www.slideshare.com and link to it from your personal profile (and company page). When prospects are researching for services like yours it’s essential that your key messages and USPs are available at the touch of a button. You can then use the sales meeting or online networking to build relationships rather than sell features and benefits.

5. Weekly status updates for staying front of mind

A dead online profile that hasn’t been updated in months is a sure fire turn off for the prospect or customer. Keep your profile status update fresh by adding something new each week. If daily is too onerous to maintain then once or twice a week will ensure you stay front of mind and on the timelines of those you are connected with. Where you can ask for comments and views by finishing your updates with a question rather than statement. Existing engagement will give confidence to a prospect who is looking at your profile.

6. Rule of Thirds to stay current and relevant

Balance your status updates to stay current and relevant by ensuring one third of what you post is about you, one third signposts links to content and links your prospects will find interesting and engaging and one third subtly sells the value of you and your organisation. Avoid the me, me, me but also the lazy constant reposting over other people’s content. Strike the balance and your customers and prospects will know you ‘get it’.

7. Watch and listen to groups to stay informed

As a proactive sales person you will certainly have a burning desire to jump straight into discussion groups and shout about what great value you can add with your products and services. This is a certain method for at best being ignored but at worst, barred from the best conversations. Successful online sales people listen first, work out who the key influencers are in a group and then monitor the themes and most important trends in discussions. The outputs will be key to your customer meetings and negotiations.

8. Add value to existing conversations, give reasons to buy rather than sell

Once you know who to talk to and what key burning subjects need solving then it’s down to you to add value with your insight, ideas, creativity and suggestions. Avoid all temptation to say “I have a product that can solve that”. If you add value then people will notice you and come to your profile to find out more about the person behind the insight. You will see such visits in your profile statistics and that is effectively an invitation to engage: not to sell, but to build the first steps of a relationship. Continue the conversation.

9. Forget inMail, advertising and promotions, use Advanced Search instead

There are many methods for promotion and direct selling in Linkedin and to be controversial for a moment the recommendation is not to use any of them. Better still is to consider the Advanced Search feature at the top of the Linkedin page. Here you can track down ideal prospects based on job title, industry sector, location and even organisation. Avoid the direct cold approach but find out which groups these target individuals frequent and start the conversation there. Social selling on their terms and in a place where they are most comfortable can be highly successful in building these relationships you are seeking.

10. Go Mobile

And whilst you are out of the office and away from your computer you should consider the Linkedin mobile app. This will ensure whenever you have a spare moment you can initiate some of the above activity and vitally, respond in real time when a prospect makes that all important response to your earlier efforts.

Connect with the author of this post, for assistance in creating a powerful social sales presence.