You get it. As sales and marketing professionals you understand the power and practical applications of social media.
You’ve made inroads into accounts and secured introductions to champions and key decision makers using your most powerful prospecting tool – LinkedIn – the epicenter of the Social Selling universe.
You watched your LinkedIn network grow as you’ve leveraged conversations with your advocate network and utilized your LinkedIn publishing posts to share content and spur further conversations (and connections).
But it’s been awhile, and much like all relationships – personal and professional – your LinkedIn network could use some much-needed attention.
Remember, it’s six times easier to sell to an existing client than it is to generate new business. Now is the best time to conduct a top-to-bottom audit and revitalize your existing LinkedIn network.
Here are six sure-fire Social Selling tips to rejuvenate and pump new life into your LinkedIn network:
1) Make new connections
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? It is. Perform an advanced LinkedIn search using strong keywords specific to your ideal buyer’s persona. Once you’ve identified a prospective connection, avoid the hard sell approach. Keep it casual – don’t propose marriage on the first date. Craft a personalized connection message that provides both context (describe why you are sending your prospect a connection request) and value (position yourself as a valuable resource of information for a specific topic).
2) Talk to existing connections
LinkedIn offers another easy search feature that may yield surprising results. Clicking the “Connections” tab from your home page opens your existing LinkedIn network. You can sort your connections by most recent conversation and also search your network for a particular person. Shocked that you haven’t spoken with that hot prospect or named account in months? Don’t panic – you message him/her directly from this page. Remember, when sales professionals show they are human and make a personal connection through conversation – building a relationship without trying to sell – the sales process naturally evolves.
3) Join a new group – and participate
Participation is paramount. Ask yourself this question: why are you joining a LinkedIn group if you don’t have something to offer? Being a sponge is OK – you do learn from listening, but it’s time to get on the dance floor and show off your best moves. The first step is always a little awkward, but once your content or comment receives that first like, comment, or share – it’s all worth it. LinkedIn allows you to join 50 groups – find groups that fit your buyer’s persona and allow you to establish thought leadership. It will pay dividends.
4) Give an endorsement
You’ve undoubtedly done business with someone in the past, or recently, who had a positive experience with your product or solution. Perhaps a long time has passed (or what seemed like a long time), so you are reluctant to contact this client. Don’t be. Start with an endorsement of his/her skills – not just the top skills listed on his/her LinkedIn profile or only those listed. I like to send my client a message stating, “I’m thinking about endorsing you for these skills (list skills). Are there any skills in particular for which you wish to be endorsed?” More than 10 million endorsements are given every day on LinkedIn, and an average LinkedIn user receives 5 endorsements. Give endorsements first, and freely, without expecting anything in return. You will be pleasantly surprised where this conversation leads.
5) Provide a recommendation
A LinkedIn recommendation is more powerful than an endorsement. It is an excellent way to demonstrate the value you’ve offered in previous working relationships. Your buyers review your LinkedIn profile as a part of their due diligence process, and recommendations help to establish your credibility and demonstrate that you’ve solved similar challenges. Again, I like to give recommendations without asking for one in return. I will only ask for a recommendation when I know that I’ve done something worth recommending. And please, keep your recommendations business-like. I’m certain my mother would recommend me (I hope) and I know my chocolate chip cookie recipe is worth recommending – but not on LinkedIn.
6) Share content
I’ve written this in previous blogs, and I cannot emphasize this statement enough: content is the life blood of Social Selling. Without a constant source of relevant and helpful content, your prospects and potential buyers will wither on the vine and die like spoiled fruit. It’s not difficult – set aside five minutes each day to review your LinkedIn home feed and like, comment, or share something on LinkedIn. It does not matter whether you create, curate, reuse, recycle, or repurpose – but publish, or your existing LinkedIn network will perish.
Are you neglecting your LinkedIn network? Want to learn additional best practices to unearth hidden gems within this vital Social Selling resource? Contact me directly using the button below and we’ll chat.