Personal Branding & Social Media Consultant
Social selling and LinkedIn go hand-in-hand, like peanut butter and jelly, Lebron James and NBA rings, or chocolate brownies and ice-cream. However, to get this special magic happening, you and I being a LinkedIn Expert need to have a chat, so you know how to use LinkedIn to sell big in 2021.
I totally understand that there might be many how-to guides and blog posts online; few of them reveal the simple tips, hacks, and mysteries to being a social selling leader. This post here is what I believe to be the top tips for applying social selling on LinkedIn.
Whether you’re a LinkedIn Expert in selling, newbie, or somewhere in between, you should walk away with some new knowledge on how to engage, interact with, and sign new prospects with the help of LinkedIn after reading this post.
My 2021 Tips for Beginners New to LinkedIn social selling, or LinkedIn in general?
Similarly, there are some great tips to get you started using the platform and incorporating and building your personal brand into your selling strategy.
Leads who see your profile on LinkedIn should be impressed with what you’ve put on there. Thus, you should convey your understanding of this social networking platform with an optimized profile.
That is to say that at the very least, ensure your profile has the following important things:
• An up-to-date, professional profile picture with clear resolution.
• A 1-2 paragraph summary explaining how you and your company help clients.
• A downplayed presence of your previous roles.
Likewise, your LinkedIn profile should be optimized for selling your product to prospects – not yourself to recruiters.
It would help if you aimed to publish at least once a day on LinkedIn to keep your connections up-to-date with the latest industry content you’ve been reading.
Secondly to keep your name synonymous with industry expertise and news.
Remember to follow the 80/20 rule of social sharing. 80% of the Content you promote should be industry news or helpful Content that doesn’t feature your product – at least not too heavily.
This type of Content includes news articles or blog posts that your connections would be helpful and/or offer insightful industry knowledge. 20% of the Content you promote should be about your business, like new product announcements, case studies, and customer success stories.
This balance helps earn you “Respect” and “Trust” while showing you’re looking to help other potential customers succeed.
Social selling can be overwhelming if you don’t have a plan. Set aside time to build an outline for a 15-30 minute daily routine for your social selling efforts LinkedIn.
For example, you may want to spend 15 minutes reading the latest news and updates in your industry, 5 minutes crafting and publishing a post to share the article you want to highlight, and 10 more minutes is spent reaching out to your prospects.
Taking your time to point them to the piece of Content with an explanation of why it applies to their situation and what these solutions are.
Whatever works best for you and your leads!
It’s easy to forget that social selling on LinkedIn is about connecting your prospects to you and your company, not the other way around.
Keep your brand’s tone in mind when conversing with leads to create a consistent brand experience from the first conversation.
Your company’s marketing department should be creating up to date and collateral and new Content and to help you earn trust with leads and close more deals.
Check-in with marketing frequently, set a regular cadence to see what new Content or campaigns the Marketing Team in your company have on their calendars.
I would recommend that you follow up and inquire about how you might best position or frame this Content in your sales conversations.
LinkedIn lets you join up to 50 different groups on the site. What are the benefits of joining a Group, here are a few that come to mind:
• You can see what potential customers are talking about and offer a comment when appropriate.
• You can submit your own posts or articles to further cement yourself as a thought leader.
• You can send messages to other members of your group, even if you are not connected.
In other words, groups allow you to learn from, engage with, and send Content to leads in an inbound way. You’ll be seen as a member of a community, rather than another salesperson sending an inMail message.
Remember – even though you’re using an online tool in the process, this is social selling, not automated selling.
To clarify, do your preparation on all of the leads you reach out to, and providing a unique and personalized message or piece of content to everyone in your initial outreach.
People can quickly detect when they’re being sold to, and they don’t like it when it feels impersonal.
Because LinkedIn is a social media platform, you should make even more of an effort to be personal to break through that screen and make a connection.
Score Your Social Selling Index Score is determined by how well you meet four different criteria: You want to become a LinkedIn Expert in selling
• Establishing your Personal Brand.
• Finding the right people.
• Engaging with insights.
• Building relationships.
Similarly knowing and working to improve your score directly leads to greater results for you. I will go in greater depth on ways to improve your score.
Further, you can learn more about finding your SSI score here. Once you’re familiar with your score, commit to consistently taking action to improve it. Here are some ways to grow your score in each part of the sales index’s framework.
To improve this score, ask your previous happy customers to write you a recommendation, which explains those who visit your profile how you managed to provide valuable solutions.
I have shared my insights on “Personal Branding Strategy” Easy to Understand.
So, to boost this Linkedin Expert score, you can reach out to those who have viewed your profile and are qualified to make a purchase. Chances are they’re curious about you or the company you work for, which is why they clicked to see your profile.
For example, before you share an article or piece of Content with prospects, research them and their specific industry to ensure what you’re sharing is relevant to them specifically.
As a result, you may reference the incident or reason why you’re sharing the Content in your message, so they know you took an interest in finding them a solution in your approach.
Firstly to improve this score focus your outreach efforts on decision-makers of the businesses you want to get in front of. Saving you and those you reach out to less time and effort.
You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you. Dale Carnegie
Consequently building relationships on LinkedIn and establishing yourself as an industry thought leader on the site takes time. This good news for you, too, because the richer the connections and the more established the credentials, the better your chances of closing a sale are!
If you’re new to this, don’t get discouraged if you don’t see immediate results.
Moreover, keep putting the work in and lay a stable Personal Brand foundation on LinkedIn. Your prospects and company will ultimately thank you. In my next section, I want to highlight one of the essential tools for LinkedIn expert social selling – the LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Tips for Using Sales Navigator If you’re serious about social selling on LinkedIn, you want to be using LinkedIn Sales Navigator.
Yes, you guessed it, this tool unlocks exclusive ways to find and engage with prospects who are the best fit for your product or service.
This section will go over the basics on how to use Sales Navigator, plus a few pro tips for the experienced social seller.
Interested in a lead who’s not quite ready to buy?
Save your leads and follow them for updates and to see when they’re in the best position for you to reach out – like changing companies or roles.
You can save leads from a company’s Account Details page, from search results, from your Sales Navigator homepage, and from the lead’s own page.
Using Customer Relationship Manager tool (CRM) at your company? Sync your sales navigator account with your CRM account to keep a report of the communication you have had with your prospects.
Consequently, in doing this, it will afford you the insights and reporting you to need. Saving you much time from the back and forth between two different sites
It only takes a click, and you’ll quickly thank yourself for doing it. If you’re a HubSpot CRM user looking to connect your account to Sales Navigator, click here.
If you use the Sales Navigator mobile app, you can log calls, length, and duration. This is an easy way to recall your previous conversations straight through LinkedIn rather than an additional call tracking software.
Why stop at your phone and your CRM? You can sync your Sales Navigator account to your email, which produces the essentials of that contact’s LinkedIn profile alongside your email inbox. You can even save as a lead directly through an email interaction.
Don’t keep reinventing the wheel. Once you develop a filtered search that you believe will consistently produce quality leads, simply save that search from receiving periodic emails for those who have newly met your criteria.
You will be able to run or edit these saved searches at any time, becoming a LinkedIn expert.
One of LinkedIn’s best premium filters is the “Leads with Shared Experiences/ Commonalities.” You’ll be able to more easily find leads who have areas of professional overlap like you.
For example, reaching out with a “Glad to be talking to another UMass alum!” is a lot more effective than jumping right to the “have you evaluated your online banking needs lately?”.
People hop jobs all the time – and that includes your customers. You can utilize the “Past Not Current” filter to identify leads who previously worked at a company that is currently your customer.
The conversation can go something like “I saw you left you [old company name]. Out of curiosity, what is [new company name] using for their [solution you provide]?”
As a result, this is a great way to use your existing customer base to add to your customer base with the power of LinkedIn expert selling.
Use a Boolean search to find who you need. This is where you’ll employ “OR,” “NOT,” and/or “AND” in your searches to take multiple factors into account.
For example, you could search for “CTO” OR “VP of Security”,” or “Manager” NOT “Sales” to accomplish your catered search needs.
Each person is similar to someone who you’ve saved as a lead or is someone who matches the preferences saved in your settings.
Want to reach out to a rep from a company you know would benefit from what you’re selling, but not sure who to reach out to?
Search for that company in your search bar and head to the Recommended Leads section, where suggested leads at that company based on what you’re looking for in the lead will be produced.
You’ll also be able to monitor company updates, job changes from employees, news mentions, and more.
Notes and tags are for your own internal record keeping and organization needs. You can bucket leads into pre-set categories, like current role, with a tag, or with a custom note to yourself about that lead with a note (i.e. “Just took the role on in January – follow up in three months.”).
Further, these tools are great for quick reference when you need to recall the needs of a certain lead. Your notes and tags will also be saved in your CRM if you’ve synced it with your Sales Navigator account.
LinkedIn is a Social Media networking site, so use your network to help you sell!
So, when you apply the TeamLink Connections filter, you’ll find possible leads who share a first or second connection with you, as it incorporates the relationships of your sales team members in addition to your personal first connections.
You can then reach out to that mutual connection to see if they can make an intro on your behalf.
Just like saving searches in general, saving TeamLink searches keeps you updated on your targeted leads’ professional lives.
Simply revisit that search or set up a notification cadence to see if you develop any mutual connections for those prospects, and follow the same steps as above to start a conversation.
Got a sales team you’re managing? Getting all of your reps to use LinkedIn can be difficult, and holding them accountable to sticking with it can be even more of a challenge.
The next section is dedicated to tips for ramping up your team to be better LinkedIn social selling.
These tips for Getting Your Team into Linkedin Social Selling Some reps would rather jump right into selling in other ways than take the time to learn social selling on LinkedIn best practices.
If this is true for your team, try these team training tips
If your reps aren’t familiar with LinkedIn – either at all or for using it as a social selling tool – set up training sessions for Sales Navigator or even have successful reps be there for a Q+A.
Sharing this guide with them so they can get a basic foundation.
Set up regular meetings with the marketing department to ensure they’re sending your reps the best and most relevant Content to be used in social selling efforts.
That is to say, building this bridge can go beyond improving social selling programs – it can result in stronger sales and marketing alignment for the company as a whole by opening up doors for collaboration and feedback.
When all else fails, offer incentives like bonuses, gift cards, or other rewards for reps who close the most deals or bring in the most prospects through LinkedIn and Sales Navigator.
If you’re a seasoned LinkedIn expert social seller, you’ve probably been holding out for this section. Here are a few tips for you to take your LinkedIn game to the next level.
Once you’re connected with prospects, you can record an introductory video for them, rather than sending a traditional text message.
On your mobile app, start a message for the prospect, press the + button, then press “video,” and then record a quick 30-60 second video introducing yourself and explain why you’re reaching out.
It’s a more personal way to make an introduction and impression.
Different buyers in different positions have different needs. Do you have a talk track for each role you sell to, from an SVP to a CEO, to an individual contributor?
Likewise, you can also develop records for when people have a role change, join a new company, or have asked you to reach back out and revisit after a few months.
Creating consistency in your messaging and allows you to tweak your approach based on your success over time.
Think of how much more impressed your prospects will be if you share an article that you contributed to or a blog post that you wrote with them rather than a generic industry article or a blog post that Scottie from marketing wrote.
Building this trust and establishing yourself as a thought leader will show that you are willing to help prospects out in ways that don’t just involve sharing. Plus, it’s a great conversation starter.
Condense your social selling work by scheduling posts a week or two in advance.
Allowing you more time of uninterrupted prospecting throughout the week while still sharing the same amount of quality content to your connections.
Need a social media publishing tool? Try HubSpot’s Social Media Publishing Tool!
This idea lives outside of LinkedIn but can be immensely helpful in starting conversations on the platform.
Similarly, if there’s an account, you’re desperate to get into your pipeline, set up a Google alert for whenever their company appears in the news. If the story is ever applicable to your business, use this press as a springboard for a conversation.
For instance, you might see a press release that they raised a new round of funding, and in the past haven’t been able to explore buying from you for budgetary constraints.
Reach out to your contact, offer congratulations, and ask if now would be a good time to reopen conversations.
In other words be “social on social media” – to continue to expand your network, use your status as a thought leader to connect with those who have liked, commented on, or engaged with your updates or with your group posts.
Do this routinely, so people remember who you are when you send the invite, and offer to keep the conversation ongoing.
Keep your collateral and Content organized when you send it to prospects. As a result, you have many people who are involved in the decision making process for purchasing.
Therefore, you should try to keep all of your links, files, and resources in one place. This is where PointDrive comes in. With PointDrive, you can package up Content to share with potential buyers.
You can even see how your Content was engaged with by those who saw it. You can learn more about how to use PointDrive here.
Don’t just go off of LinkedIn bylines for your conversation starters. Check out the profiles of everyone you’re prospecting to see what you can bring up on your initial discovery call.
Have they recently listed their experience using a competitor product or software in their job description, or have they received a certification that relates to what you’re selling.
I really truly hope these tips, hacks, and pieces of advice have given you the knowledge and inspiration to become a better social seller on LinkedIn in the year 2021.
Like all social media platforms, LinkedIn is always changing, so as you do more social selling, remember to document what works best for you, your company, and your leads.
Also, suppose I personally can leave you with one tip that we believe will impact you the most. In that case, it’s syncing your CRM with your LinkedIn Sales Navigator account.
To sum up, this action will ensure that your data and interactions are kept in one centralized place, and will definitely streamline the organization in social selling so that you can focus on reaching out to prospects and ensuring they turn into the highly valuable customers you are looking for.
Audrey is a Branding & Growth Consultant, SNS, Marketing, a founding member of this online community for creative, ambitious, and accomplished entrepreneurs.
As a Personal Branding & Growth Consultant, specialising in SNS Marketing, she features a proven diary in delivering sales revenues, growth, and developing different businesses in Asia.