Why Social Selling on LinkedIn?
Ever thought about why companies like Oracle, SAP, Philips, etc., all have a Social Selling Program for LinkedIn in place and you don’t?
It feels like cold calling but 10x better.
Social Selling builds trust, gives a face to your message and directly provides background information on you. Preferably you have at least one common 2nd connection. If done right, it can strongly improve your lead funnel, build potential business relationships at scale and help to position yourself as a thought leader.
It is actually not that difficult, but as everything else in life, it requires some processes, internal stakeholder interest, dedication and execution. Nothing easier than that, right. ;)
So what is Social Selling exactly?
As LinkedIn, the key B2B platform with over 600 million business profiles put it: "Social selling is about leveraging your social network to find the right prospects, build trusted relationships, and ultimately, achieve your sales goals." (LinkedIn)
The best part, once a connection request is accepted, the person will stay in your network forever. Okay now, so far so good, but how does it look practically?!
There are 4 Key Pillars that you should improve on (LinkedIn)
Create a professional brand
Find and connect with the right targets
Engage with insights
Build trustful and meaningful relationships
Here is a quick note to each pillar. I’ll deep-dive into all of them in separate articles soon:
1. Create a professional brand
Let’s start with the basics: Fill in your LinkedIn with your customer in mind. Most common mistake is that people fill their profile like they want to be hired. Try to provide value and think of what would be interesting for your potential customer when reading your tagline and second your profile summary. Have a proper profile pictures in place (no selfies, no picture from the 80s, etc.), preferably use a headline picture associated with your company, have a summary, complete your life stations + give more information on each, "show-off" with cool things you have done or a personal fun topic to start a conversation about. Be yourself, be honest and be unique if you can.
2. Find and connect with the right targets
Please please please: if you write someone, even after you found similarities and show interest in the other person - mean it! People will smell it sooner or later anyway, the more experienced, the earlier. ;)
If you are in Sales, I would strongly recommend getting LinkedIn Sales Navigator. It helps you to build customized target lists with 25 different filters. If you are working in a team and use Salesforce - LinkedIn Team is very helpful to prospect, autofill information in Salesforce and update the deal pipeline in LinkedIn Sales Navigator under „Deals“ (Note: I am not affiliated with LinkedIn, only a big fan!)
3. Engage with Insights
Like, comment, share. If you have a hot prospect, add him in Sales Navigator to your personal lead list and check daily what your contact is up to. Engage with interesting articles that you have read, ask questions, support your arguments to topics (data!) and share useful articles for your industry. There are tools out there that aggregate content but following industry thought leaders is a good start for sharing interesting content pieces.
4. Build trustful and meaningful relationships
Let’s take this apart. How do you appear trustworthy? Well common connections, interests, origins, university, industry, title, etc. helps! Point number 3. amplifies trust.
What does meaningful mean? Auto-connecting with hundreds of people that have nothing to do with you? Not so meaningful unless you foresee in the future that you are selling THE ONE product that everyone would like to buy. Keep in mind with whom you connect and build your personal brand around it. Pick 1 or 2 topics that you want to be associated with and focus on them. Quality > Quantity!
Social selling is often called the future of sales. However, very few individuals or corporations have embraced this activity besides their traditional sales channels. Building a professional brand, finding and connecting with the right targets, engaging with insights and building trustful relationships can sound very complicated and time consuming. Like anything else in life, it takes time to get everything sorted and correctly implement a social selling strategy. However, once you get everything in place, you will see leads flowing in from all sides.
If you want to discuss how you can leverage social selling in your organization - send me a message on LinkedIn. Here's my profile.