As someone who sells business services, you have no doubt heard the term social selling. In fact, you are probably engaging in it to some degree.
But do you consistently see measurable results from your efforts?
Investing in a modern sales strategy is the most effective way to fill your sales pipeline in the current era of digital selling.
Whether you are selling to Fortune 500 or smaller companies, improving your social selling skills is essential for attracting today’s buyer.
The basics are no longer enough as more and more companies invest in social selling training to equip their teams with the latest digital selling strategies to stay competitive.
Many people who experience poor results with social selling usually chalk it up to the fact that it doesn’t work. But nothing can be further from the truth.
In this article, I show you how you can generate new leads and clients, actively and consistently, using LinkedIn. But first, I explain what you need to do before engaging with your ideal clients on LinkedIn.
Your profile determines whether a decision-maker will click Accept
Before you even start thinking about using LinkedIn to generate new leads, you need to assess how your potential clients see you on the platform. Having a professional, client-focused presence is essential if you want decision-makers to be clicking Accept in response to your connection requests.
First impressions matter—a lot! In fact, 80% of professionals say they cannot get past a bad first impression.
You must write your LinkedIn profile with your ideal clients in mind. This can feel counterintuitive if you believe your profile should be your professional bio or CV. That’s fine if you are looking for a job, but if you want to use your LinkedIn profile as a business building tool, you need to take a different approach. That means your profile should speak to your target audience.
Here is an eye-opening fact…
No one cares about you. No one cares about me. People care only about how we can help them! That should be the focus of your LinkedIn profile.
Here are some tips to help you create a powerful LinkedIn profile:
Have a compelling headline: Your LinkedIn headline is the MOST critical part of your profile. Ensure your headline captures your readers’ attention and makes them want to click on your profile to learn more about you.
Tell your story in the About section (formerly the Summary): The About section is the perfect place for people to learn more about you. Speak directly to your ideal clients, letting them know you understand their problems and offering your solutions.
Share your current experience: Your Current Experience section is where you describe what you’re doing right now in your current position. To make your Current Work Experience section impactful, describe your company and share the most compelling information about it. Also list your products/services and the benefits your clients receive when working with you.
Add media to make your profile more engaging: You can add multimedia to some sections of your profile, including your About and Work Experience sections. This makes your profile more interactive, providing viewers with more information about you and/or your solutions to their problems.
Watch the video training on How to Stand Out on LinkedIn.
Generate more leads with The LINK Method™
Once you have a professional, client-focused profile, you are ready to start generating prospects and building relationships on LinkedIn.
Moving relationships with prospects along too fast or too slowly on LinkedIn can negatively impact your lead generation results.
To help you achieve this delicate balance, I am sharing with you the five essential steps for successful lead generation on LinkedIn. These five steps are part of a lead generation system—The LINK Method™—I have developed specifically for LinkedIn.
Combined, these five crucial steps turn LinkedIn into a highly predictable lead generator
Here are the five steps of The LINK Method™.
Step #1: Find prospects
LinkedIn is filled with your ideal clients, and you can find them in a number of easy ways.
LinkedIn offers you a fantastic ability to find prospects through its advanced search function. The available search filters differ depending on the level of membership you have.
For example, Sales Navigator offers the most robust set of filters, enabling you to perform highly targeted searches. You can still do searches with a free or Premium account, but fewer search filters will be available to you in the advanced search function.
You can then save your most effective searches with the Saved Searches feature to get search alerts directly from LinkedIn when new leads match those sets of search parameters. LinkedIn will then compile a list of leads and prospects for you!
Step #2: Send connection request
After you locate a prospect, you need to send them a connection request.
What you put in your connection request message will largely determine whether they accept your invite.
You must personalize your connection request message and give them a reason why they should connect with you.
To write a personalized message, start by viewing the person’s profile. Your goal is to learn what is important to them personally or professionally. To write an effective request, begin the message with something personal to create an immediate connection.
Step #3: Engage in dialogue
This step consists of establishing rapport and engaging in a conversation with your new connection.
After they accept your request, send them a thank-you message. It’ll give you a chance to keep the conversation going.
Continue building rapport with them by maintaining a light dialogue with them.
Step #4: Build relationships
Most people never communicate with their LinkedIn network, and without communication, it is impossible to build relationships.
A thank-you message alone won’t achieve that. You need to send additional messages and even provide value to your new connection to continue the momentum.
When I say provide value to them, I don’t mean pitching your solutions. This is your chance to provide them with resources they would find valuable. It must be something that speaks to their top of mind problem. At this point, ask for nothing in return.
Step #5: Move conversations offline
Finally, you need to move the conversation offline—this is where you can get to know them. Only in an offline conversation will you be able to get the information necessary to understand their company and the challenges they are currently facing.
If you have established rapport, provided value, and begun to build trust with your prospects, many of them will be willing to have an offline conversation with you.
It is offline that you get to know your prospect, understand their challenges and, when appropriate, offer your solution. It’s offline that you convert a prospect to a client.
Watch the video training on How to Consistently Generate B2B Leads from LinkedIn.
Leverage LinkedIn for lead generation
LinkedIn is an incredibly powerful tool for lead generation because it provides ungated access to decision-makers from all over the globe. LinkedIn boasts well over half a billion registered members as well as leaders of every Fortune 1000 company.
With its features, LinkedIn allows you to find, research, connect and build relationships with your leads while building your personal brand and authority in your industry.
If generating more clients is a priority for you, take the time to create a client-focused profile and then begin implementing the steps laid out in The LINK Method™. It works!
About the Author
Melonie Dodaro is a preeminent authority on social selling on LinkedIn and the author of the #1 bestselling book LinkedIn Unlocked. She is also the CEO of Top Dog Social Media, a company specializing in B2B social selling on LinkedIn. Melonie’s superpower is creating strategies that turn cold connections into clients.