I was talking with one of my friends (she's a social media professional too) a while ago and she gave me the idea to write about the power of using LinkedIn for social selling.
It's a tool that she uses all the time and she has used it extremely successfully to grow her company's business. Her name is Kayla and she manages the Abby Executive Suites social media presence. Through the power of LinkedIn (and some really good personality and sales practices), she has grown her current locations' revenue by $20,000 in 8 months and is on pace to hit a million dollars in revenue this year.
Kayla was kind enough to tell me exactly how she uses LinkedIn to connect with potential clients using LinkedIn. I've incorporated her direct process with a couple extra tips in this blog post so that you can see exactly how to use LinkedIn to grow your business.
There are a variety of stats out there about how many times it takes for someone to connect with a person or brand before they commit to purchase. But it's at least 5 times. That's 5 times that you need to find to connect with your lead without seeming pushy, in their way, or looking annoying. And, fortunately, LinkedIn can make it easy for you to easily connect at least 5 times - and do it almost without effort.
With the right practices, LinkedIn does a lot of the heavy lifting for you. You just need to put the pieces together to maximize the opportunity to convert the lead.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
First and foremost, you need to have your LinkedIn profile set up for success. If you're going to rely on this tool your profile needs to be formatted to represent you well.
You can check out my tips for cleaning up your LinkedIn profile here.
Your account should also be set so that when you view someone else's profile, they can see who you are. Showing up anonymously won't help you benefit from LinkedIn. Go to your Profile Privacy & Settings option. Under the Profile tab, click on the "Select what others see when you've viewed their profile" option. You should have the "Name and Headline" option selected.
Participate Actively in LinkedIn Groups
You can be a member of up to 50 groups on LinkedIn and there are thousands for you to choose from that are related to your business and your industry. I recommend you join as many groups as you can actively participate in. This could be 2 or 3 or maybe 30 or 40.
Within these groups, respond to others' comments or questions. Provide resources or articles that establish you as a credible professional in your industry.
Do not use groups to sell or promote your business or services. Use these opportunities to meet new connections and grow your social credibility.
Investigate Your Leads on LinkedIn
When you have had a conversation or exchange with a lead or potential client, "investigate" them immediately afterwards on LinkedIn.
Do it while your conversation is still fresh in both of your minds.
Look to see what other common ground you have with them. Do you have mutual connections? Is there a geographical connection? Have they published or shared any content that you've read? Are you in the same LinkedIn group(s)? Did you attend the same school, university, or even work for the same company at some point? Do you have common interests or hobbies?
These commonalities will help you connect directly to the person you are looking to do business with.
Even if you don't choose to actually connect with the person, they can see who's viewed their profile and (if you followed the instructions above) see who you are and what you look like. This allows them to put a face to the name - and hopefully help them want to work with you.
Connect With Your Leads on LinkedIn
You may not want to formally connect with every lead and that's ok. But connecting with them allows you to stay on their mind. Your post updates will show up in their feed. You can see their post updates and be prepared to respond or engage to stay top of mind. You may even be able to reach out and help with a piece of advice or an article related to their question or comment.
Putting yourself in a position to stay top of mind will put you much further ahead than your competition who isn't practicing these methods.
If you do opt to connect with your lead, do NOT send a generic connection request. You absolutely MUST customize your connection request message. It can be short but should remind them how you first connected and why you want to stay in touch. If you have some common ground that you discovered, you can add that in here too.
Stay In Touch With Your Leads
During the process of converting the lead to an actual client, you can easily reach out and stay in touch with them through LinkedIn. As I just mentioned, sending them an article or responding to their post updates are great ways to stay in touch.
You can also send them the occasional LinkedIn message. This works really well if you don't have direct access to the lead's email address.
LinkedIn also has a really good tool to keep track of your interactions with your connections. When you go to the person's profile, click on the "Relationship" tab to see how often and in what way you've connected. You'll see when you first connected and see the messages (and their dates) you've shared. You can also add personalized notes to improve your interaction reminders.
This will help you see how often you've had conversations and ensure you don't overdo (or underdo) it!
Staying in touch shouldn't be hard selling. It should be you providing them with something, not asking them for anything. Provide them with a resource, tip, article, or other valuable information.
Stay Connected With Your Clients
Just as important as it is to stay in touch with your leads, you need to stay connected to your converted clients. Making the sale doesn't stop the sales process.
This is where the true value of social selling comes into play.
Just being connected on LinkedIn to your clients will keep you top of mind. Your posts will populate their feed and they will come across your name regularly.
But it's so important to do more than that. Send the occasional message. Wish them a happy birthday or work anniversary. Thank them for a year of valued service with your company. Offer them a tip or resource that you came across that you know they will find valuable. Offer to help them in some way.
Keep these relationships alive and thriving!
People who have used these methods and effectively leveraged LinkedIn for social selling are seeing more conversions, more sales, higher revenue, and longer term clients. If you want to see these same benefits, it's time to start actively using LinkedIn to your advantage.