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Let’s clear up some mixed messages that are seeping through the walls of social. Here is what I am hearing:

  1. “If you publish great content, you will build a following” (If no one knows you have great content, no one will follow you) read:LinkedIn Myth: If you Build it They Will Come.
  2. “Be patient, it is a very long process to get business from LinkedIn”
  3. “You have to invest a ton of time every single week “liking”, sharing and commenting on other people’s post to get your prospects’ attention.
  4. “You can’t sell on LinkedIn”

And I say, hogwash…it is, after all, called “Social Selling”. 

In fact, LinkedIn has an entire group called LinkedIn’s Sales Solutions Team, focused on helping sales professionals get more business. They have a premium service called Sales Navigator, so clearly LinkedIn is banking on the fact that we will use it to sell. So, if this is the case, why do so many social selling experts say you can’t sell on LinkedIn?

I think people confuse the word selling with pitching…

Selling Good, Pitching Bad. – Kevin Thomas Tully

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Sales is not just about pushing your “stuff” and closing a deal; sales is a process. It is about:

  1. Listening to your audience
  2. Educating and providing value
  3. Attracting and engaging your prospects
  4. Positioning yourself as the resource they need to solve their problem

Social is the most productive way to get this done. If you want to grow your business in today’s economy, you have to sell on LinkedIn, period.

CLICK HERE to learn what social selling really is.

Let’s look at traditional selling (TS) vs. LinkedIn and Social Selling (LSS)

  • TS: Open the phone book and began with “A”.
  • LSS: Create an advanced search with targeted filters and identify who you know that can make an introduction.
  • TS: They say “send me some information”, and you do.
  • LSS: You connect with them on LinkedIn, they visit your profile and learn about the value you offer through your headline and summary, the problems you solve through relevant case studies of your successes and recommendation from your clients. They read your LinkedIn posts and get industry insights, clarity on pertinent issues, and they begin to see you as a resource, thought leader and subject matter expert.
  • TS: Build Rapport by quickly looking around their office and identifying awards, family pictures and personal tchotchke (chachke) to spark conversation.
  • LSS: Read their profile, look at their social activity, identify the articles they “like” and comment on, reach out to the connections you share to get an insider view, flip through their vacation photos on Instagram, research the topics they are writing about, read industry trends that affect them, find groups they participate in, boards they sit on, charities they support and so on. Boy, now you have conversation starters around subjects that they really care about.
  • TS: Begin the sales meeting with questions like, what is your budget, who are the decision makers, and what keeps you up at night.
  • LSS: Research their company, press releases, new hires, new product releases, industry trends, competitors, the annual report, names of influencers and decision makers within their organization, shared connections with whom you reach out to and chat.  Oh, don’t forget former employees that you have found on LinkedIn and reached out to to glean credible information around your prospect’s buying process, challenges and obstacles they are facing. ***Now, rather than asking questions that only matter to you, you provide insights, you are a resource and establish credibility. When it is clear that you are someone that truly understands their situation and are a problem-solver, your questions will get answered more naturally and more honestly.

LinkedIn is definitely not the place to “Pitch” and not the place to push your agenda, but if you are in sales it is a place to be a thought leader, add value to your prospects and build your professional brand; which is the foundation of the sales process.

As successful sales people, we are always closing for the next step, and on LinkedIn our close is for the phone call with the right people. 

So, in short, if you are looking to leverage LinkedIn to grow your business, don’t be afraid to sell on social – just don’t PITCH!

If you know you need to be selling on LinkedIn but are not sure how, let’s have a conversation. Even if we decide not to work together, I am confident our conversation will be full of insights and strategies to help you leverage LinkedIn more effectively. Here is a link to my calendar http://ScheduleaCallwithBrynne.com please pick a time that is most convenient for you. I am looking forward to our call.