Social Selling: LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting – Part One

Social Selling: LinkedIn for Sales Prospecting – Part One

 

 

Yesterday I was giving a full day Advanced Workshop/Presentation to the Sales Institute of Ireland on Social Selling Through LinkedIn.  It was being run in the absolutely gorgeous newly renovated rooms in the National Concert Hall in Dublin.  Lots of light, huge airy room, massive screen, great coffee and pastries and then I had to teach Top Sales People with enormous monthly quotas how to Sell through #LinkedIn.

Here is my problem – I have been training companies for years in how to use LinkedIn through NOT selling!

However, I am so convinced of the power of doing business through LinkedIn that I decided to bring that knowledge to the table and turn it slightly on its ear. So, instead of “Selling” we worked on how to focus on warm introductions and recommendations and on how to get these prospects to arrive in your sales funnel at a much higher lever than the normal entry point. Here’s a little bit of what we covered.

People Do Business with People

It is human nature to chat, hang out or even do business with people you can personally connect with. Research shows B2B decision-makers count their interactions with salespeople as the major determinant of whom they choose – more than product quality, brand reputation and pricing combined! That means that if you, as the sales person, can give your buyer a personal hook to connect with you’re already ahead of the game.

I asked all the participants to tell me a bit about themselves at the start of the course yesterday. No one had ever met before. Everyone told me who they worked for, their title and what their company was famous for supplying. I asked each one again “Anything else you want to tell us?” Again, they told me the company had been operating for X years and employed X number of people. I was nearly dying inside!

Finally someone told me they were building a house… The room erupted…  “Oh My God It;’s SO stressful!” “Do you have a good electrician?” “Where are you getting your bathroom?” “My brother has just finished here’s what he learned” “Here;s the number of a great painter”…. We had noise and conversations and numbers being exchanged.  Simply because there was a Personal Hook people could easily relate to. How easy was that? We were having conversations, advice and information were being exchanged, everyone was engaged.

Now… How is that any different to LinkedIn? You MUST create Conversations, Exchange Information and Advice and Be Engaged! That is the core to any successful Sales Funnel. Give me something to connect with, show me some personality in your copy, some flair.  That personal engagement will ensure that you are personally connected to your contact. That in turn means that they will come to you for information and advice, engage with your posted content and become the solution to their problems.

There are many ways you can do that on LinkedIn.  The first, is to ensure your profile and the Summary piece especially are full of personality, watch your voice in your writing. You want them to be able to hear you speak when they read your Summary.  They’ll only read the first couple of lines though (no time!) so make sure it is clear – What you do, who you serve and your value to them. All in the first 3 lines of your summary.

It is NOT a CV, do not mention that you’re experienced, motivated, a team player, self starter… these are all taken for granted now. Make yourself Stand Out. Show Passion. Tell Stories!

Make sure that you know very specifically who you are selling to, what their worries are and what solution they will value from you. Then fill the rest of your (2000 characters) summary with Keywords (Google Adwords, Tools – Keyword Planner) scripted into your key messages aimed at that specific audience with those specific problems (see below for campaigns). Don’t forget to put in a recommendation here. Use all the space. Show your personality!

I often change my summary depending on the specific work campaign Redstorm is running. So, I am often working to attract different target audiences with a different set of values. SMEs looking for an internal Marketing Department, websites and branding; Bluechips looking for LinkedIn Training or Personal Branding for their top tier executives –  I advise everyone to open and save a word/pages document and spend time writing a couple of headlines and summaries based on their main key targets so it’s then easy to switch between them depending on your business focus at the time.  I’m not suggesting you appear psychotic! Just tweaking the message and keywords to appear in different search results is incredibly effective.

The very first piece of real estate anyone sees in LinkedIn is your cover graphic and photo.  So why did everyone bar one yesterday have the LinkedIn blue graphic? You need to Stand Out – Change the graphic! Use Canva to design a header graphic with your company colours and message of the month or campaign message on it. Change it regularly! Here’s mine:

 

Social Selling LinkedIn

 

It makes it really easy to see what I do.  I have a clear smiling photo that shows my personality – you get a feeling for what it would be like to meet me face-to-face.

The next piece of real estate and one of the most high powered search areas in LinkedIn is your header.  People have an awful habit of putting their title here.  But that just means you’ll show up when a sales person wants to sell into “Business Development Managers”… Why not use this to give a shot of what you deliver? Keyword heaven!!! It doesn’t have to read well; it has to tell your potential connection what you will bring to the table. It has to tell the search engines to show you in their results. Be creative!

Can you see the difference between me putting “Marketing Strategy, Communications, Social Media, Digital Strategist, LinkedIn, Branding, Entrepreneur, Keynote Speaker” versus “CEO Redstorm”?

In Part Two of this “Social Selling – Linkedin for Sales Prospecting” I’ll be looking at how to successfully engage and create Great Conversations across the platform.

 

If you’re having any difficulty with your own profile give me a bell on 087 2476600 and we can chat it through!

 

 

How to Maximize the Reach of Your Social Media Posts

How to Maximize the Reach of Your Social Media Posts

One of the most pressing questions whether you’re a social media newbie or a social media maven is: What’s the best way to post information or share content to optimize your reach?

A study was recently conducted with more than 200 companies to determine how social media professionals may optimise their engagement with both business-to-business and business-to-consumer conversations.

Researchers evaluated numerous factors such as the number of words in a post, the time of the posting, the day of the week as well as punctuation and the usage of hashtags.

As with many communications and marketing tactics, the answer depends entirely on the targeted audience.

how to maximise the reach of your social mediaThe key finding:  Mondays and Wednesdays are the best days to post on Twitter if you want to reach consumers. For LinkedIn, Monday is your best day.

But if you want to reach other businesses, Tweet on Wednesday and post to LinkedIn on Sunday.

And what about the use of hashtags? Hashtags are best saved for business-to-business-oriented posts but don’t work nearly as well if consumers are your target.

The biggest surprise for me was that the use of questions marks significantly minimizes your click-through rates between 25 and 52 percent as compared to posts without questionmarks.


Check out this infographic for details on how to maximize your social sharing efforts.  It’s an Eye Opener!

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Are you designing and  scheduling your social media for real results or do you need a hand with all the busyness?
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hat do you find gets the best results?

20 Tips to a Successful LinkedIn Profile

You’ve probably heard how important LinkedIn is becoming in business, such an integral part of your personal executive branding. You have a profile but you’re not getting much traction in terms of real results or a visible revenue stream.  It all takes time and time is probably one of the commodities that you just don’t have… Right?  Having a successful LinkedIn profile is not easy but we think there are a few key areas that will pay big dividends…

1.  Treat your LinkedIn profile like a website:

Make sure it is formatted, clean, and free of spelling and grammatical errors.  I strongly suggest creating your LinkedIn profile first in a word document – not only so you can “catch” errors, but also so you can get a better idea of what your profile will look like on the LinkedIn website.  In some sections of LinkedIn you can also pull in bullets and special characters.  Alas – still no bolding or italics other than what LinkedIn itself formats. Another bonus, if you’ve already created your profile in a Word document, sections of it can easily be copied into other social media platforms to keep your branding unified.

2.  Know your keywords:

Like any website, LinkedIn’s internal search engines weigh your keywords heavily in its searches.  Make sure you place your most important search or keywords strategically throughout your profile.  Some places you might want to consider are your:

•             Professional Headline
•             Title Fields
•             Specialties
•             Interests
•             Recommendations
•             Education (Activities and Societies)

3.  Keep your name clean:

Put only your first name in the first name field and your last name in the last name field.  If someone is searching for you by name, LinkedIn will have a hard time finding you if your last name looks like this:  Jones, Dr. Mark P. (markjones@gmail.com)

4.  Keep your photo professional:

I recommend a close up and a smile. A full body shot of you and your family, you and your car, you and that fish you caught last week is unclear and unprofessional.  I have seen some artists use artistic renderings of themselves – which is clever if your image is still clear. LinkedIn doesn’t like logos.

5. Don’t ignore the “post an update” function:

LinkedIn’s update function is much more robust than it used to be (taking some tips from Facebook and Twitter).  People can now “like” and “comment” on your updates – which helps to build relationships within LinkedIn which play a big part in your becoming successful on LinkedIn.  And with the introduction of LinkedIn Signal, the update section can now be a functional part of your SME (Subject Matter Expertise) and content strategy.  Make sure you take a little time each day to “like” and “comment” on the updates of network as well.

6.  Personalize your public profile URL:

Make sure your public profile reflects your name, your business, or your area of expertise: http://linkedin.com/in/carolokelly  or http://linkedin.com/in/linkedinexpert.  Nothing says, “I’m a LinkedIn neophyte” like a public profile that reads:  http://linkedin.com/pub/firstname-lastname9890734-akjshfiho

7.  Personalize your websites:

When you edit your website, the drop down menu gives you the option of “other”.  When you click on that, a new field opens up that allows you to type in your business name, website name, call to action, or description of your website.  So instead of “Company Website” or “Personal Website” this section can read “Social Media for SMEs” or “Click here: Taxation Updates for 2013”

8.  Juice up your “Experience” section:

“Experience” is not your resume. Make sure the jobs you choose to list support each other. Make sure you put all your keywords in the title section.

9.  Utilize the “Experience” description area:

Use the 1000 characters in the description section to tell people why they should hire you or your company or buy your product.  Tell a “save the day” story.  Put in a testimonial.  “Experience” is a great place to list “wins”, different companies you have helped, seminars or workshops you have presented, a mini-shot of your personal website.  Use this section as the foundation for your Company Profile

10.  List your “additional education”:

Make sure you list your certifications and licenses as well as traditional education. LinkedIn has now added new sections where you can list areas of expertise, publications, patents licenses and certifications.

11.   Get Recommendations:

LinkedIn tells you your profile is complete with three recommendations.  I suggest between 5-10.  And when you are asking for recommendations, provide a bulleted list of your skills, strengths and services so people will write a more complete recombination and not: “She’s great”.  If you are comfortable doing so, you might write a recommendation that the recommender can use or base their recommendation from.  You might want to add some of the better recommendations to your website.  Ask for recommendations from thought leaders in your field, old employees, and well-known clients – these all go towards you becoming successful on LinkedIn and being able to see real results.

12.  Join strategic groups:

Join groups in your own market or industry, your ideal client’s industry, groups that you are interested in, groups that your target prospects are members of, alumni groups, open groups and some big groups (Consider LinkedHR with 370,000 members).  Once you join a group you can send a message to strategic members /prospects or invite strategic members to connect with you. In the next week or so I’ll be doing further posts on Groups and the best ways to manage them and use them strategically to your advantage.

13.  Create a group:

Consider creating an open or closed group.  Make sure you, or someone in your company is tasked to moderate it to keep it interesting and relevant. Make your group a destination and active forum.

14.  Limit the invitations you send out:

You only get 3000 invitations in a lifetime – use them wisely.  Even though LinkedIn gives you the tools to upload your entire list, make sure you only invite people who are already on LinkedIn and don’t invite more than 2500 people – leave a few invitations for the future. At this time you cannot buy more invitations.

15.  When inviting others, tell them how you know them:

LinkedIn used to have an IDK “I don’t know” button that could get you in a lot of trouble.  Now a person’s response to an invitation is “Accept” or “Ignore”.  Nevertheless, when inviting someone to connect with you, I highly recommend telling him or her how you know them or why you want to connect.

16.  Use “Answers”:

The answers section is a great place to position yourself as an SME or thought leader.  Answer enough questions and you can drastically increase your exposure on LinkedIn as the “go to” person.  It’s also a great place to get ideas for blog articles, or to re-purpose blog articles you have already written!

17.  Always be courteous:

LinkedIn is a business-networking site.  Be courteous.  Try to Answer Inmails, messages, and requests for introductions within 72 hours.  Remember your “Please” and Thank you”.  Help someone out.

18.  “Give” more than “Get”:

LinkedIn is a great place to get information, to get connections, to get clients, to get employees.  But follow the golden rule:  “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Don’t spam.  Don’t infiltrate email boxes with constant sales messages.  Instead share valuable information via your groups, updates and answers and let clients come to you.

19.  Use Applications:

Everyday LinkedIn is adding more useful applications.  You can embed up to 8 in your profile.  Take a look and see which ones will be most useful to you.  I recommend their blogging apps (either Blog Link or WordPress), Slideshare, Google Presentation (to show YouTube Videos) Amazon Reading List (especially if you are an author or have published an eBook).

20.  Life Long LinkedIn Learning

Continually try to keep up to date with the changes going on in the LinkedIn platform and learn how to use them to your best advantage. Keep an eye on LinkedIn blogs and articles and make use of tips on this site to make your profile and company pages as engaging and as relevant to your target audience as possible on an ongoing basis.