Today’s buyers are more educated and savvy than ever before and much of that has to do with social media. Studies show that 75% of B2B buyers use social media to make purchasing decisions. In the B2B space LinkedIn is currently the 800 pound guerrilla when it comes to social networking, with over 350 million users worldwide and growing at an average of 2 new users per second.
Buyers on LinkedIn are able to access company information, product information, corporate leadership intelligence and brand reputation before ever speaking to a sales person.
Smart entrepreneurs and sales executives realize that the days of cold calling are all but over. Companies need to teach their sales teams how to leverage social selling and professional networking sites like LinkedIn or face being eaten alive by competitors that take the time to figure it out.
Social media and social selling is influencing buying decision more and more everyday. By learning how to develop relationships with your target market through sites like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and beyond, companies can put themselves ahead of the curve. Research shows that sales people who engage in social selling are 51%more likely to exceed their quota.
Here are a few tips and strategies that can help you and your team to become sales rock stars by better leveraging LinkedIn.
1. Recognize that your profile is more than a resume…it’s more like a marketing channel.
Your profile is NOT just a resume, it is an opportunity to influence buying decision when done correctly. You need to make sure you are representing yourself, your company and it’s products/service properly. The easiest way to do this is to build out your profile to reflect both yours and your companies expertise as well as the products and service you offer.
You’ve heard it a many times before, “a picture is worth a thousand words”, so I strongly suggest you tell a large part of your story by adding images, videos and other collateral media that accurately represent your company and the value proposition it can offer it’s clients. The best place to add this type of media is the summary and/or experience sections of your profile.
2. Focus on connecting with the right people
To become a sales rock star on Linked you need to avoid the old school, shotgun marketing approach and take a much more strategic and rifled approach. The winner in social selling is not the one that has the most LinkedIn connections but the one that a develops real relationships with the right connections.
The key is to first identify your target market by creating a detailed prospect profile and then systematically engaging and connecting with the right people within the organization in a non sales like approach. After all, people love to buy but they hate to be sold and never before has this saying been more true than in social media.
Be sure to leverage your network by finding connections that are willing to open the door to their network or are willing to provide keen insight into the buying and decision making process.
FACT: Sales people that utilize referrals earn 4-5 times as much as one that don’t!
3.) Build Real Relationships, Rapport and Trust with People
You can have thousands of connections on LinkedIn but if you do not take the time to develop and nurture those relationships you are going no where fast.
There are many ways to build trust and rapport with people on LinkedIn. Here are just a few to consider
- Your LinkedIn profile
- Who and how many people are in your network
- Your groups and group related activity
- Your network updates and related activities
- Your published articles
- Your willingness to convert conversations offline
- Your willingness to ask your network to introduce you
- Your willingness to introduce others to your network
Acquiring new customers through networking and referrals has been around for decades but the advantage with social media is that it allows you to do it on a large scale globally.
Always remember to focus on quality over quantity by spending 80% of your time developing relationships with the most influential 20% of your network.
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