Using LinkedIn As A Sales Tool: 4 Simple Tips
Now, if you’re looking at this post, the odds are pretty good that you already have an account with LinkedIn, and even if you don't have an account, you're probably at least considering getting one soon.
Maybe a friend of yours suggested that you open up an account on this site, or expand your presence there. And if that's what happened, you know what? Your friend was probably right.
LinkedIn now has about 64 million unique visitors every month, which is a huge figure, and its growth is accelerating rapidly. More and more people you know, or want to know, are using LinkedIn.
If you're like a lot of business professionaIs I know, you're reading this because you're wondering what you can do with a LinkedIn membership that is simple ... that won't take up a whole lot of your time ... and that will actually give you a competitive edge in the marketplace.
The single smartest thing you can do with your LinkedIn membership is to keep adding more connections.
The whole system, in fact, is based on real-world, person-to-person, first-level connections. What's a first-level connection? That's someone you know who will publicly admit to knowing you. Pretty simple, right? Your coworkers. Your boss. Your best customers. And so on.
Well, the more of those kinds of connections you have, the more financial and personal benefit you will be able to get from this site, both immediately and in the long term.
Ideally, you would want to invest just a few minutes each and every working day reaching out to more and more people you know, people you went to school with, people you have worked with, or people you have actually been friends with in any vaguely business-related context. Fortunately, LinkedIn makes it extremely easy for you to do this by allowing you to import contacts from your address book or through suggesting contacts to connect with based on similar connections.
Sales Tip: If you’ve just had a good conversation with a prospect, consider sending them a request to connect with you. This can help build the relationship and you can stay connected to their professional activity and interests.
Your goal here is just to establish the right first impression with both strangers and connections ... through best-practice use of LinkedIn's discussion groups.
There are hundreds of discussion groups you can join on this site, and each has its own community and its own written and unwritten rules. Best practices vary by group. Learning what's appropriate and what's not in any given group can be a difficult job ... but there are some basic LinkedIn discussion group guidelines everyone should keep in mind.
For instance, you definitely want to choose a discussion group that is relevant to your own or your organization's areas of expertise. And you want to keep your contributions relevant. Don't pick a group you have absolutely nothing to contribute to. Look for opportunities to add value and ways to support the purpose or mission of the group you join. Look for topics you know about and care about. The more relevant your posts, the more valued a member of the group you will become.
The other thing you want to remember is, no selling. Of course, you certainly want to share relevant insights and opinions. However, you do NOT want to use discussion group exchanges to launch direct sales pitches. That is not the way to build credibility on LinkedIn. Think in terms of relationships, introductions, shared interests, and good conversations that you can eventually continue off-line.
A lot of people overlook this one. You can and should update your personal profile frequently -- say, once a week -- just to let people know about a new project you’re working on, share information, or update your network with new things happening at your company.
Remember, by periodically updating your profile, you are putting your name in front of your entire community. It's basically free advertising. Don't just set the profile up once and walk away! Tell people what you're up to.
Consider updating to the paid version of LinkedIn.
This is a great tool for a salesperson and the money involved is very low and can pay for itself very quickly.
There are a lot of options to select from but here is the simple way to look at the Premium offerings. There are four different categories of membership:
• (Business) LinkedIn Premium
• (Talent) Recruiters
• (Job Seeker) Job Seekers
• (Sales) Sales Professionals
Just stop and think for a moment about how much more effective you could be as a salesperson if you had access to more powerful searching and more detailed profile information. You could increase the number of qualified leads you call as well as how much revenue you could generate.
It’s a great tool ... and once you get used to it, I suspect you'll wonder why you never used LinkedIn to prospect this way before.
So those are the four simple LinkedIn action tips that can give you an edge in the marketplace.
About Molly DePasquale
Molly DePasquale is the Manager of Operations and Sales Training Strategist for DMTraining. She manages the day-to-day business and training operations while helping research and develop new training programs as well as refreshing signature programs to reflect the newest sales trends, technology, and best practices. Molly utilizes her wide-range of skills to create sales and marketing assets focused on delivering value to DMT’s clients. Molly has a passion for learning and leveraging new knowledge and experiences. Outside of DMTraining, Molly is a hard core Pittsburgh sports fan, enjoys staying active by running and golfing, and unwinds by reading and playing the piano.