The sales environment is more competitive than ever and customers are tired of cold spam and email bombardments.
They want to be in control of their buyer’s journey.
With social media at the forefront, customers can freely talk about their needs and find solutions on their own.
Businesses that embrace social media as the new reality and adapt to their customers are winning in the new sales landscape.
To do this effectively they are employing the social selling approach as a core part of their sales strategy.
What Is Social Selling?
Social selling is the use of social media and networking platforms to connect, build relationships and engage with potential customers.
The core idea behind social selling is “People buy from people they know.”
It involves actions like connecting, messaging, commenting, and sharing valuable information with prospects, all in the name of building trust.
By consistently bringing value and being interested in the prospect’s success, this trust can be turned into meaningful, long-lasting business opportunities.
Note that building relationships is slow but in the long term, 78% of teams utilizing social selling outperform teams that don’t.
Today, social selling is becoming widespread across many industries, and sales teams are realizing its opportunity for success, especially on LinkedIn.
Social Selling on LinkedIn
As the biggest professional network, LinkedIn is the best social selling platform in the world.
With over 65+ million decision-makers, and even more professionals, the sales opportunities are endless.
Social selling on LinkedIn involves connecting with the right people and engaging them with the goal of establishing relationships that lead to sales.
This doesn’t mean connecting with everyone you see and spamming them with messages.
You need a proper LinkedIn social selling strategy to have great results.
This strategy involves:
- Optimizing your LinkedIn profile for sales
- Building up your authority on LinkedIn
- Connecting with the right prospects
- Engaging in conversations
- Converting relationships into leads
Let’s break it down step by step.
Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile
Before even thinking of connecting with anyone take a look at your profile as first impressions are everything on social media
Does it say who you are and what you do?
Is it well-optimized for sales?
To get this right start off with your profile picture and headline as they are following you around everywhere you go on LinkedIn.
Your profile picture needs to be inviting and your headline clear with what you do and how you help people.
These two aspects will be the deciding factor if someone will click on your profile to see more.
Once someone is on your profile, they are looking at what you have to offer.
It’s best to treat your LinkedIn profile as a landing page for your business.
Utilize your featured section to display your products and services giving visitors easy access to what you can help them with.
To emphasize your business even more and give more information, use your profile summary to talk about your customer’s problem and how you solve it.
Build Authority Through Content
Just having an optimized profile isn’t enough, you need to gain traffic to it and build trust with your prospects.
Creating content about topics your ideal customers care about will build you up as a trusted source of information making them more likely to buy your product/service.
To do this determine:
- Who is your ideal customer?
- Where are they from?
- What do they do?
- What are their problems?
- What type of content solves their problem?
Answer these questions and start creating content with the intent to solve their problems.
Posting regularly will make you stand out and be on top of their mind, making them closer to purchasing your product/service with every post.
To know if you are speaking to the right audience you need to have an understanding of who is in your network.
Visualize your LinkedIn connections and work towards connecting with your ideal customer while disconnecting with irrelevant connections for your content to have the biggest impact.
Connect With Your Ideal Customers
The core of social selling on LinkedIn is connection and relationship building.
Fill your network with relevant connections that fit your ideal customer.
Here’s who you need to connect with:
- Relevant influencers in your industry – They will help you get your word out there and you can use their audiences to get eyeballs on your business.
- Your audience – People who engage with your content and profile. They are already interested in you and need a small nudge to win them over.
- Potential (ideal) customers – You will need a constant stream of new connections to fuel your social selling strategy.
- Existing customers – Engaging with them will make them feel heard and more than just a number trusting your business even more and staying with you long-term.
- Decision-makers – Big companies mean huge sales opportunities. Connecting with decision-makers skips the sales chain altogether.
There are many ways to find people that will be interested in your business and what you have to say.
Utilize LinkedIn’s tools like boolean search to pinpoint posts talking about problems you solve and connecting with people engaging with them.
Or use your company’s existing network to find relevant connections you might want to reach out to.
With the power of a combined network, your reach grows exponentially throughout your sales team.
Engage With Prospects
The best way to build trust and interest with potential customers is to talk to them.
Once you connect with someone send them a message, nothing salesy, just engage in normal conversation.
Engage with them by:
- Sending them useful resources
- Engage with their content
- Introduce them to your satisfied customers
- Offer help when needed
- Talk about their interests and problems
Social selling is a long-term strategy. You won’t sell in the first message.
Start hundreds of conversations and follow up with connections on a regular basis to get them warmed up to you.
In no time your inbox will be filled with interested prospects which might make it hard to stay on top of it.
After engaging with your connections for some time converting them should be very easy.
Convert Relationships Into Leads
Up until now, everything you were doing was tied strictly to LinkedIn.
You learned who they are and determined if they are the right fit for your product/service.
To start converting them be clear and bold, tell them about the problem they have and that you have the solution.
Transfer the conversation off of LinkedIn and finally meet to discuss your proposition.
They trust you after weeks/months of conversing and will be glad to talk with you.
Make the meeting flow smoothly as you already know a lot about each other and continue the sales process.
Measure Your Success With The Social Selling Index
LinkedIn emphasizes social selling so much that they allow you to check how well you are doing.
The social selling index (SSI) is split into 4 areas:
- Establishing your professional brand
- Finding the right people
- Engaging with insights
- Building relationships
It gives you insights into the success of your social selling strategy.
By evaluating your social selling index you can get an idea of which are you need to work on to improve your strategy.
Note that the social selling index shouldn’t be your only measure of success.
Pay attention to the number of leads you are generating and your conversion rates.
Those are the real metrics that will help you grow your business.
How To Boost LinkedIn Social Selling By Working As A Team
Let’s face it, most of us are working together with our sales teams to get higher results and that’s great.
Social selling is even more impactful when working together.
To make it work, your whole team needs to embrace social selling and implement individual social selling strategies.
All of you are connecting, engaging, and building relationships, but now you are collaborating on every action.
Having a combined network is crucial for team social selling to work.
With LeadDelta Workspaces you can combine your individual networks into one database of connections with every new person someone on your team connects with being visible to the whole team.
You can see who is connected to who and filter your mutual network for new prospects you want to engage with.
Everyone on your team has different interests and is better suited to engage with different people. (Not everyone can engage with everyone)
The best way to build trust with your prospects is to make them feel special.
Use Notes to signal your team about your prospect’s interests and notify the right teammates to engage with them.
They will get to know your whole team even before they become a customer making them want to buy from you even more.
With your whole team working together it can become hard to track who is engaging with who and what everyone is doing.
Benefits Of LinkedIn Social Selling
Businesses are starting to realize all the benefits LinkedIn social selling brings with it and are jumping on board to implement it in their teams.
There are 4 key benefits of social selling on LinkedIn:
- There are no cold leads – With all of the engaging being done everyone who passes into your sales pipeline already knows what your product/service is. There’s no need for further warming.
- Increased brand awareness – Your social media pages aren’t the only contact point with prospects and customers when your whole team is engaging with them. Prospects recognize your brand because of your team.
- Long-lasting business – Every new customer you acquire feels invested in your brand as they have real relationships with your team making them more loyal to your business.
- More insight into your customers – By being on social media your team can discover the exact needs of your customers much easier than doing expensive customer research.
The world is becoming more connected by the day with the power of social media like LinkedIn.
With its many benefits social selling is becoming the best way to get new customers by building real relationships.
By embracing social selling you are one step closer to increasing your sales potential.
Download LeadDelta and improve your LinkedIn social selling game today!