Creating strong, good-quality relationships within your client base is essential for every business, both in the online and offline world. As much as we want to be logical and smart creatures, as humans, we are still primarily emotion-driven and will oftentimes choose a particular brand or a company, depending on how we feel about it.
So when we start talking about selling on LinkedIn, things are not so much different. In the constantly changing world of sales, just calling or emailing your contacts out of the blue is no longer feasible or effective for generating sales opportunities. You need to build relationships first.
In this blog post, we will take a look at the process of social selling on LinkedIn and help you shape your LinkedIn social selling strategy.
Let’s dive in!
Why is LinkedIn the most relevant place for social selling today?
The answer is quite simple, honestly. If you had a lemonade stand, you wouldn’t place it in the middle of an empty street; you would most likely go to a busy park with loads and loads of thirsty people.
And LinkedIn is just that — the biggest online park for businesses and professionals of the 21st century.
The above numbers are growing each day, and LinkedIn is currently one of the top five most visited social media platforms worldwide.
It's also incredibly targeted: people on this platform are there specifically to network professionally with others in their industry — making them more likely to buy from a professional like yourself!
Another important element that makes LinkedIn such an attractive place for businesses and professionals alike is the focus on engagement and activity. The site has been designed around networking, which means that users will expect not only to see your profile but to be actively engaged with you in some way.
Now that we've established why LinkedIn is worth focusing on, let's talk about how exactly you can use this social media platform to its full potential as a sales professional.
10 Steps to social selling on LinkedIn
There are four main pillars to social selling which can be applied to any other social media network and even your personal website.
Before you start engaging with prospects on LinkedIn, you need to make sure your profile looks professional and trustworthy to your target audience. But how do you do that?
Don’t worry; we’ve got you covered! Read on to see how you can complete all four tenets and become a master of social selling on LinkedIn.
1. Create a professional profile
This step is crucial, and it includes polishing your LinkedIn headline, summary, profile picture, and description. According to LinkedIn, a successful profile feels approachable and friendly but, at the same time, is not afraid to show off their accomplishments and experience.
Take a look at this profile that LinkedIn set as a prime example of what they see as successful.
You can see all the important elements here:
- A professional headshot
- A descriptive and unique headline
- An engaging summary section.
One thing we would like to add is to make your summary or “About you” section a bit shorter than that — one or two paragraphs are enough. Sales prospects would rarely have the time to read your entire life story.
When creating your LinkedIn profile, list your skills and achievements in bullet points, which will be easy to skim through.
2. Use the custom search options
LinkedIn’s custom search filters provide many options for finding the right prospects.
These search options can help you find decision-makers at target companies more easily.
3. Create efficiency with saved searches
Once you have a specific set of applied filters, you can save that set and go back to it whenever it’s needed. This option is great when you’re updating your list of prospects, or you just want to change a single filter, such as the location, position in the company, etc.
After that, you can set an email alert, and LinkedIn will send you emails at a frequency you choose.
4. Don’t neglect the "People Also Viewed" section
Once you find a suitable prospect, go to their profile and turn your eyes to the right, where you will see more suggestions for prospects.
These are the profiles of people that are either in the same field, position, or company, or just profiles other professionals have looked at after looking at your initial prospect’s profile.
5. Take note of your clients' LinkedIn connections
Pay close attention to the activity of your leads and the people that engage with them. Chances are that they would have the potential to become prospects, as well.
This is very important when looking for leads because, a lot of times, people only follow others without connecting with them on LinkedIn.
6. Use LinkedIn Sales Navigator
This is one of the social selling tools LinkedIn offers for sales professionals. It provides you with the following features:
- Advanced lead and company search – Choose from multiple filters and find the most relevant prospects for your business.
- Lead recommendations – Easily find new prospects and improve your sales conversations.
- CRM integration – Connect LinkedIn Sales Navigator with your CRM software and add prospects and accounts to your list in seconds.
7. Join LinkedIn groups
Currently, there are more than 2 million active groups on LinkedIn, and that number is constantly growing. Groups are an amazing way to find prospects, reach out to them and build your LinkedIn network.
The key to having success with LinkedIn groups is to focus on sharing valuable content consistently instead of trying to sell directly.
8. Research your LinkedIn prospects
By now, our social selling tips should have helped you create a lengthy list of potential leads. The next step is researching those prospects to make sure you will be prepared once you finally connect with the client.
On their LinkedIn profile, you can see the following information:
- Interests – This is where you can see all the businesses, pages, influencers, and companies your prospect follows. The interests section will help you find topics on which you can connect with the prospect and build rapport.
- Highlights – This section will show overlapping information such as mutual connections, interests, and previous employers. Use this if you need a good ice-breaker.
- Activity and articles – Here, you can check out the prospect's content and engagement chronologically. This includes not only articles and posts, but also comments, likes, and shares.
9. Personalize your connection request
A relationship on LinkedIn starts with a connection request. The good news is that you can customize connection requests and add a personal message to accompany them.
Head over to the prospect's LinkedIn profile, and under their profile picture, you can select Connect and Add a note when the pop-up appears.
Sometimes, you may need to click on More to find the Connect option.
Naturally, prospects will pay more attention to invitations with messages rather than non-personalized connection requests.
How to measure your LinkedIn efforts with the Social Selling Index Score
By now, you're probably thinking that it would be smart to measure your social selling efforts on LinkedIn.
Well, LinkedIn has you covered here as well! There is a special metric called the LinkedIn Social Selling Index score, which was introduced in 2014.
The Social Selling Index calculates your social selling success based on how good you are at:
- Establishing your personal brand
- Finding the right people
- Engaging with insights
- Building relationships
The maximum score is 100, but the majority of sales professionals should strive for a more realistic score of around 70. This is how it looks:
This feature is included with LinkedIn Sales Navigator and can be activated from the “Social Selling” tab in the settings. Once enabled, LinkedIn will give an immediate reading of your current status — as well as suggestions for what it might take to improve your score.