2015 is The Year of Social Selling, and although few will argue this, not many truly know what to do to make LinkedIn and Social Selling work for them in a business development role. I am sure you have heard that best practices are never to sell on LinkedIn but, isn’t that the goal of social selling? To get sales?
However, the sales process has changed, because the buying process has changed therefore, the sales activities need to fall in accordingly. Buyers are more informed than ever before, they research and develop opinions about your products and services before you ever knew they are looking. So, one of the shifts to stay competitive is to be one of the voices forming their opinion. Here are the 5 vital activities that all serious B2B sales professionals need to do in 2015 to stay relevant and maybe even in business.
- Share your industry insights and your subject matter expertise. Don’t be stingy about content and don’t worry that you will share so much information that you are giving your secrets away to your competitors. If you are not publishing your own unique perspectives, education and engaging content, you will lose your competitive edge in 2015. Even if you are not a blogger, record answers you give your clients, popular FAQs, group discussions and popular articles then take the time to put together some tips from your perspective as well as trends or insights that you are observing in your daily work. Put together a brief summary that includes a paragraph of the challenge or overview of the topic, a few bullet points that provide solutions and a call to action. You can even share a simple bullet point list – you don’t have to get clever – just add value. Then make sure you have a call to action to have a conversation or sign up for a free webinar. Now that you have them engaged, guide them to the next steps in the process. (CLICK HERE to see the 7 elements that make a successful blog post)
- Reach out to all of your 1st degree connections that are prospects or referral sources that you have ignored with a personal note and a request for a brief phone call. Dear XXX, Happy New Year! One of my resolutions for 2015 is to reach out to professionals in my network with whom we can both benefit from reconnecting. Let’s set up a brief call to explore ways we can help each other make this year an even more successful one.
- Integrate your in-person networking and LinkedIn to be a seamless business development activity. Growing your network on and off LinkedIn is key to growing your business, so be sure to coordinate the two. Be sure to connect with each person you meet and create a follow up plan. Whether your new connection is a prospect, referral source or simply someone that you just want to add to your network, be sure to engage with them according to your goals. If you would like a conversation, simply ask. Dear XXX, It was a pleasure meeting you at the business card exchange last night. I would like to connect with you on LinkedIn and schedule a follow up conversation so we can explore how we might be able to work together. More of the right conversations means more of the right business. If you are meeting with a referral partner CLICK HERE to see how to leverage LinkedIn to make introductions to each other productive.
- Create a schedule to look up your prospects on LinkedIn and view their recent activity. Visit their profile, click on the down arrow next to “Endorse” and click on “View recent activity”. From here you can see what they are “liking”, “sharing” and “commenting on” and you can too. You can communicate with them directly from here, even if you are not connected to them yet. Begin to engage around their updates and then request a conversation offline.
- Take a good look at your LinkedIn profile and determine if it is client-centric. Is it engaging your prospect in a way that gets them to want to have a conversation?
- Does your headline share your value proposition (what is in it for them to talk with you)?
- Does your summary talk about you, or how you can help them? Are you offering insights and advice or are you pitching – even telling them why they should hire you versus showing them?
- Have you uploaded a customized banner yet – including your website address, email and phone number?
- Have you included case studies so that your reader can see the solutions you deliver?
- Do you have recommendations from clients that talk about the results they have received because they worked with you?
We all have goals for 2015, and if one of them is to grow your business, be sure to implement these 5 activities to your daily or even weekly schedule, and you will reach your goal in no time.
If you are responsible for business development or a team that is, I invite you to have a brief discussion regarding your LinkedIn goals and initiatives. Even if we don’t work together, I am confident the call will be filled with insights and ideas to help grow your business. CLICK HERE to schedule a time that works best for you.