|By Karen Morton, speaker and trainer on Personal Branding.|
Are you relying on cold calling to drive your sales pipeline? Are you frustrated with the lack of success you’re having? The sales process has undergone significant digital transformation. According to Forbes, the Age of the Seller has been replaced by the Age of the Customer. So how do you find your future customers?
Traditionally, the only way for buyers to find the information they needed to make a buying decision was through sales people. Not anymore. Today, roughly two-thirds of the buying process is performed digitally, via online content. According to Harvard Business Review, 90 percent of C-level executives say they never reply to cold calls or cold emails. So what do you do if cold calling is no longer effective?
The answer lies in the world’s largest professional social media network – LinkedIn. LinkedIn has over 660 million members and 30 million companies globally, LinkedIn is at the forefront of connecting B2B buyers and sellers and is effectively the largest search engine for professionals. In the Blog I will share with you some top tips to maximise sales success leveraging LinkedIn.
Although LinkedIn was established as a job hunting platform you can use it to great success as a social selling platform. Instead of thinking of your personal profile on LinkedIn as helping you to secure your next job opportunity, think of it as helping you to secure your next sale. Follow these steps to create a strong sales profile on LinkedIn:
Think of your profile from the perspective of buyers looking for solutions. Use your profile title to highlight your ideal customer and how you can solve their problems i.e. [Title], helping [prospects] do X. Your title is visible when people look at your profile for the first time, in Google and LinkedIn search results, on all your LinkedIn activity and when you send Connection invitations so it’s critical to invest time in creating a great, sales orientated title.
Your summary should be 1-2 paragraphs at most and should describe what you do, what’s unique about what you do and why you’re passionate about it. Think of potential buyers as you write your summary and how you can address their needs. Make sure you include a Call to Action in case anyone reading your profile wants to get in touch.
Use company logos for the companies you have worked for. Describe how you helped customers with their business challenges such as reducing costs, improving productivity, growing revenue etc. Demonstrate how you had an impact on other businesses. Take advantage of the opportunity LinkedIn affords to upload Video, Whitepapers, Blogs, Case Studies to show the impact you made.
You have a 14x chance of being viewed if you have a profile picture on LinkedIn. It is worth investing in a suitable profile picture that positions you as professional, approachable, collaborative, engaging and helpful – all key traits a buyer will look for.
Gone are the days of the rolodex, phone directory and business cards replaced by an immensely more powerful and constantly updated global online tool. For example, within 3 seconds, you can find a list of CEOs in Cork who work in the health care industry and have a company with more than 10 employees. The following steps will help you leverage the strength of LinkedIn to find your next customers and open doors.
One of the most important sales techniques is to understand how buyers behave – making prospecting easier with greater success. A recent IDC social buying study has shown:
LinkedIn presents an excellent opportunity to stay abreast of developments within your customers/prospects organisations that may present sales opportunities – expansion, acquisition, new strategic direction etc. Follow these steps to remain top of mind amongst your customer set.
Once you’re happy with your LinkedIn profile, have connected with lots of prospective customers and invested time in getting to understand their business it’s then time to build winning relationships with these prospective customers. Take it one step at a time and don’t undo the trust you have established by the hard sell. Consider the following steps to build strong customer relationships:
While this Blog has focused on all the free and organic Social Selling techniques, if you’ve invested time in all the tips outlined above and are seeing the benefits of social selling for your business consider taking it a step further and invest in the LinkedIn Sales tool – Sales Navigator. The main benefits of Sales Navigator are:
Finally, schedule regular time in your calendar for LinkedIn – the more you use the tool and the techniques outlined above the more your sales pipeline and business will benefit.
Interested in learning more? Check out our new LinkedIn for Sales Success 1 day course.
Karen Morton is a speaker and trainer on Personal Branding, an independent Strategic Marketing consultant and Mentor and Non-Executive Director.
Karen is passionate about helping people and organisations to achieve their full potential and has experience working across Multinationals, Start-ups and the Public Service.
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