Unless you live under a rock, as a salespeople, you should be using LinkedIn to connect with customers, prospects and other people in your professional lives. A whole industry has even formed to help people effectively market and sell on LinkedIn through training workshops and tools.
Some people out there are LinkedIn pros. They spend tons of time reading and publishing content, sharing and commenting on posts, creating discussions, answering queries, and even prospecting for clients. But as a salesperson, you don’t have to become a LinkedIn expert or spend countless hours mastering every feature to get value out of LinkedIn; that’s not the idea here.
What you should be doing is using LinkedIn wisely in your sales activities. Here are three ways to maximize sales activities on LinkedIn – without extensive training, tools or expertise.
1. Stop Hiding
If you’re still “hiding” on LinkedIn, then you’re likely missing out on sales opportunities. Having no summary or picture is a big mistake. Having a poorly written summary, incomplete profile information, and an unprofessional picture are also big mistakes.
At minimum, add a picture. I know many people, myself included, who has trouble taking anyone seriously unless they can at least take a few seconds to add a picture. Why should anyone agree to connect with you? How will anyone know what you look like when they have to meet with you? Why are you hiding? A few reasons come to mind:
- You don’t care what social media experts think
- Everyone at your company already knows what you look like
- You never want anyone to know what you look like
- You’re shy
- You’re lazy
- You dare to be different
- You don’t like being told what to do
- You have a concern about your looks
- You’re a vampire
- You don’t own a cell phone with a camera
- You don’t know anyone who has a cell phone with a camera
- You or no one you know has a camera
- You don’t know what a camera is
- You don’t know how to take a selfie
- Your picture looks exactly like the “no picture” avatar placeholder
So, at minimum, add a photo of yourself to give clients and prospects a sense of familiarity if you have not yet met in person. And make sure your profile is complete. Include education, skills, past jobs, and interests – you never know if a common interest will trigger a conversation or help get you in the door.
2. Network, Share and Stay Current
So, you have your photo and profile loaded up, and established some connections… now what? If you haven’t logged in to LinkedIn in weeks or months, then you’re probably missing out on some opportunities – or you look like you’re hiding or completely disconnected from the world. Those who regularly share and comment on news, trends and ideas look smart and passionate about their field – people others want to get to know better.
Put your best foot forward and stay connected by doing these few simple things using LinkedIn:
- Share your profile or your contacts – remember, this is a social network, so you should be open to sharing accordingly
- Update your profile a few times a year with new skills, recognition, certifications and other details as appropriate
- Log on at least once a week to check for new connection opportunities or invitations from others to connect – you’ll be surprised that people you know, know the people you want to know
3. Research Clients and Prospects
When doing research on a client or prospect prior to your first meeting, where do you go? Many people will go to the company’s website and look at 10K and other publicly-available financial documents, which can be useful. But how do you learn about the people you’ll be meeting with?
There’s a very good chance each of your contacts is already on LinkedIn, where you can gain a sense of their current position, background and skills. This will help you to:
- Establish credibility by showing that you took the time to understand not only their company, but each individual involved in the process as well
- Give you an understanding of their world so you can speak with them in meaningful way that will have a lasting impact
- Identify connections in common to use to your advantage
Get Results Using LinkedIn
LinkedIn is easy to set up, use regularly and stay connected with clients, potential buyers and others that can influence your sales process. So, start using LinkedIn for sales. Guaranteed – almost immediately, you will start seeing results.
Janice Mars, Principal and Founder of SalesLatitude, is a sales performance improvement consultant and change agent focused on growing top performers to impact bottom line growth. With more than 30 years of experience as a senior business and sales executive, she helps companies build successful sales teams by maximizing their time and resources, selling from the buyer’s point of view, and strengthening the effectiveness of leadership. View my LinkedIn profile | Twitter