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How to Use LinkedIn for Sales

How to Use LinkedIn for Sales

While most people recognize LinkedIn as a great place to network to get jobs, many haven’t considered the power it has to land B2B leads. Since people list their job title and employer, it makes it easy to target people who fit your customer persona. Also, you can trust that LinkedIn data is probably more accurate than other social media site since it’s more professional than social.

Image is Everything

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Similar to other social media sites, your profile is important. Since LinkedIn has a more professional feel than the other sites, you may want to also make you profile more conservative here. The expectation is that viewers will learn about your credentials when viewing your profile – and talking about qualifications is serious business! This means that instead of the selfie at the beach, you go with a profile picture where you’re in more formal attire or uniform. Show people that you’re going to deliver when they’re a customer of yours.

Similar to working on other social media sites, you want to fill in as many fields as you can in your profile. Also, try to connect with as many people in your professional network as you can on LinkedIn, so onlookers can see how entrenched you are in your industry.

Use Endorsements to Show You Have the Skills

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Aside from filling out the profile settings completely, you have to work on LinkedIn to demonstrate your credibility. First, you want to get people to “Endorse” you for specific skills that you have. This gives people confidence that you have these skills that they feel necessary for the work you want to perform for them.

LinkedIn makes it easy to give a connection an endorsement. To make one go to the person’s profile page and click the “Endorse” button that’s near of the person’s profile.

To get endorsements, you can write people and ask them if they’ll give you one. Another technique is to endorse people who you’d like to return the favor. Whenever you endorse someone, it lets them know and gives them the idea of returning the gesture.

Testimonials, the LinkedIn Way

Testimonials are not only a way to build your credibility on your website, but also on LinkedIn. On LinkedIn, they’re called “Recommendations” and default to showing near the bottom of your profile, although you can, and should move them up.

To make a Recommendation:

(1) Go to the person’s profile page
(2) Find the “Recommendations” section
(3) Click the link for “Recommend [person’s name]”

Similar to endorsements, you can encourage people to leave recommendations for you by asking for them or providing one first.

Prospecting

You can find your prospects by typing their job title in the search box at the top of LinkedIn.   However, you won’t always be able to message them. That depends on if you have a connection with them, or if you are using a paid service.

Once you find a good prospect, you could look to send them an InMail (LinkedIn’s name for messages on the site), if you’re connected to them, are in a group with them, or subscribe to a paid plan.

When you’re sending a message and it’s out of the blue for them, then make sure that you first message isn’t too long, it’s not a sales pitch right off the bat, and you tell them something that intrigues them. Just make it an introduction letting them know what pain points you can address for them or maybe something you could provide to them for free (i.e. consultation, analysis, white paper, etc.). remember, you’re just trying to start a conversation with them. Test different things and see what people respond to the most.

Getting Your Group On

Being active in groups helps you develop a reputation on LinkedIn, and as a side benefit, it allows you to message people whom you couldn’t ordinarily. If you go to a profile of someone whom you don’t have a connection (and they aren’t in a group with you), you’ll see just a “Connect” button:

However, if you visit someone in your group, even if you don’t have a connection, you’ll see the option for sending them an InMail (a message).

After you’re approved for a group, you’ll be able to post and comment [on others’ posts]. Post things that are informative and related to the group. Most groups have policies that they don’t accept spam. The moderator can kick you out for this, and LinkedIn may also mark all of your posts as needing manual approval before appearing in the group, if enough people flag your posts as inappropriate.

Avoid making posts that are just sales pitches. Yes, we all think that we have the latest and greatest, especially when we’re having a sale, but most people are immediately turned off when they see such an overt sales pitch when they’re not expecting it. This in turns makes them angry and they flag your message as inappropriate.

Make sure that the comments you enter are valuable as well. Avoid writing ones like this where there is no substance and simply liking the post would suffice. If you agree or disagree at least take the time to explain why you agree or which points of the post you felt most passionate about.

If you’re able to be consistent with your posting and comments daily in the group then your ‘group reputation” will grow. The top level is called “Top Contributor” and your posts gain a higher visibility in the group, and the rank is also noted under your name and in the right hand column.

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Ask to be Introduced

Sometimes you may find someone on LinkedIn that you’d like to communicate with, but they’re not in one of your groups and you aren’t connected with them. In such cases, you can sometimes ask a friend to introduce you if you have a mutual acquaintance.

To do this, go to the profile of the person you want to connect with, and then select: Connect > Get introduced (which will show if you have shared connections).

Paying to Know You

Sometimes you won’t be able to message someone, but you’re not able to because you’re not in a group with them and you have no connection. In that case, you may want to consider a LinkedIn paid memberships, such as their ones for sales professionals. You still won’t be able to contact everyone on LinkedIn (they must be in your 1st, 2nd, or 3rd degree network), but it’s suppose to increase your reach by 35x.

With paid memberships you can send InMails to more people, but you have a limited amount per month. Based on the level of plan you’re on, you have a set number of credits, like 10, that you get for the month. Each time you write an InMail to someone who you don’t already have a connection with, you have a credit deducted. The good news is that LinkedIn has a response guarantee which means that if you don’t get a response within seven days of sending an InMail, they refund your credit (and you can write someone else).

Aside from paid memberships, you can also use LinkedIn’s ad platform to reach potential customers. You simply create an ad campaign targeted to your customer persona’s job title(s) and point it to a landing page. This works a little differently than paid memberships because instead of you initiating the contact, the potential customer must reach out to you by clicking on your ad (and filling out a form on a landing page you direct them to). The good news is that you don’t pay unless someone has an interest and clicks on your ad.

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