Now more than ever, for sales professionals worldwide, knowing how to network online has never been more essential. In a world where conferences, events and face to face meetings have been shut down, your ability to continue to network has never been more important. Luckily LinkedIn is there for you.
LinkedIn was often overlooked in the past but has become invaluable to many sales professionals who have learned to leverage the access that they get on LinkedIn to hundreds of thousands users across hundreds of different countries. Once you learn to use it properly LinkedIn will become an in-disposable tool for any sales professional.
Even if you choose to use an automation tool to help you build your network, create consistency and save loads of time, you still have to go about creating relationships with a genuine approach.
Any time you use a tool like LinkedIn to connect with people try to remember that it is basically the same as meeting them in person. It’s just in the virtual. The same rules of etiquette apply. You would not go up to someone in a conference and start boasting about all the awards you have won, or introduce yourself as “the sales guru of Silicon Valley” would you?
Of course not.
You might walk up and say “Hello I’m Sally it’s nice to meet you.”
Now that you have met, would the next words out of your mouth be “Let me tell you about the greatest aluminum siding ever created, you have to buy it.”? I would hope not, I can see the person walking away now. Most sales people know to show interest in the person they are speaking to. The same applies in the virtual world. Ask a question or comment on an article they posted. In other words, start a friendly dialogue.
Just like in the real world, build trust.
A common pitfall users fall into is pushing out one dimensional information, whether it’s a post or a message. No one really wants to hear your sales pitch uninvited. If you think about it, the “in person” analogy works here too. If we were talking face to face and all I did was talk about me and mine, you would likely lose interest, think me a narcissist, cut the meeting short, and make a mental note to avoid me in the future. Make your messages about them, educate them to sell, offer information and ask questions about them, these are all strategies that people respond to and doing so you will establish your credibility.
Once you are connected you can take the conversation off platform, you can email them or just pick up the phone and call them. It’s amazing how easy it is to speak to people that you are connected with. I’ll give you some magic words. “Hi Mike, this is Steve, we are connected on LinkedIn, I wanted to reach out and …….” Those words “we are connected on LinkedIn” make everything make sense in the eyes of your prospect. He thinks “Oh, we are connected on LinkedIn; him calling me makes some sense.”
If you treat your social media relationships like you do your real world relationships you can really leverage a tremendous opportunity to expand your influence and generate real business leads on LinkedIn.