The days of only making cold calls in order to make sales are coming to an end, and are being replaced by online conversations taking place on social media. Specifically, sales teams are looking to LinkedIn to connect with brands and build relationships that lead to sales.
LinkedIn provides sales teams direct access to professionals that are more willing to buy because users are serious about solving their professional needs and are more willing to listen to those who have a proven track record of providing the products or services that are needed. However, just like users on other social media platforms, your LinkedIn connections aren’t interested in listening to overt marketing.
Your first impression with prospects is crucial to any sales team’s success, especially on LinkedIn, because you aren’t able to make the same personal connections you would if you were to meet at an in-person networking event. So, what’s on your LinkedIn profile is all potential customers will have to go on when deciding whether they want to engage in conversation with you. This means when creating your profile, it shouldn’t read like a resume, but it should show potential customers that you’re an expert in your field and provide a window into your personality by highlighting what’s important to you.
Here are a few more Dos and Don’ts of creating a LinkedIn profile with sales in mind:
- Be engaging and interesting while remaining professional when building your profile and connecting with brands. Potential customers should feel like they know you, and not that you’re just trying to sell them something, but that you are genuinely interested in making a connection and providing value.
- Use your job descriptions to appeal to customers by listing accomplishments specifically centered on customer needs. For example, if you specialize in selling architectural design services, be sure to highlight the times you successfully provided said services to previous brands. Also, include numbers to prove your claim, like how much your client’s sales increase after a business worked with you.
- Write a summary in the About section of your LinkedIn profile that shows your personality, describes your role, the value of the brand (the problem your company solves for potential customers), and why you personally care about the brand.
- Use a professional profile picture. Your first impression goes beyond the words written on your profile that tell potential customers what you can do for them. The way you present yourself is just as important. Similar to an in-person meeting, you want to have a profile picture that shows you at your best, preferably by using a professional headshot, which is important if you’re looking to make connections that lead to sales.
- Don’t display your personal sales accomplishments on your profile (unless you are actively looking for employment). You don’t want to remind customers that sales ultimately help you; you want them to understand that doing business with you will help their business. This doesn’t mean your LinkedIn profile should read like a sales pitch. Instead, you are working to create a subtly persuasive profile that suggests you are an industry expert.
- Don’t write a headline that focuses on you specifically. Remember, you are selling the benefits you can offer to customers, not yourself. An example of a good LinkedIn headline “Medical Sales Expert | Focused on providing software services to non-profit health organizations”
Once your LinkedIn profile looks great, the next step is to focus on prospecting for potential customers.
- Do your research & identify your goal: To begin, clearly define what you wish to achieve by selling on the platform. For example, is your goal to increase brand awareness or brand engagement, or are you looking to raise your conversion numbers? Look at your competition and use what you find to help yourself narrow your focus so you can create an effective strategy.
- Choose & prioritize your target audience: Once you’ve done your research and established your goals, you’ll be able to determine the right audience for your sales. Your target audience should be professionals who will benefit the most from your solution. When you come to a final decision, use LinkedIn’s search tools to help increase your search accuracy.
- Join groups related to your audience: Begin to join groups where you find professionals that are aligned with your target audience. Engage in conversations, offer insights and advice, and be willing to ask questions. This will not only allow you to get to know your audience better on a personal level, but also allows you to establish yourself as a subject matter expert before you try to make any sales.
- Follow potential customers and their businesses: By doing this, you’ll be able to interact with members of your audience in a personal way and build a rapport with them. You’ll also learn the wants and needs of their business or themselves personally, which will allow you to tailor your sales pitch specifically towards them when you’re ready to make the initial connection.
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Build & maintain relationships to make sales: While LinkedIn leads to more sales than other social media platforms, it’s not meant for direct selling. Instead, sales are reliant on interactions with other professionals and making connections with them. After you have done the work to find prospects, look to connect with them via a message that addresses something personal about each connection. Consider the following when making initial contact to help facilitate a conversation:
- Mention mutual connections.
- Offer a deal or free trial on your product or consultation.
- Present them with a tangible opportunity, such as offering to post about them or their business on your profile.
The goal here is just to start a conversation, not sell. If you don’t get a response after a week or two, be sure to follow-up two-three more times to give yourself better odds of getting a response. Once the connection is made, the next step is to continue building the relationship, meaning that you should continue engaging with their posts and sharing content that they may find relevant or interesting.
Posting consistently on LinkedIn also contributes to developing a relationship with your audience, so it’s important to make sure that while you are developing relationships you allow potential prospects to learn about you as well. Seeing the things you post can help prospects make decisions while they are in the consideration phase. When you’ve solidified the connection and build trust, you’ll be able to initiate effective sales conversations.