How to Leverage LinkedIn to Improve Your Prospecting Results (With Pictures)

Selling Skills | Prospecting

Social Selling is a term that is popular these days, but what exactly does it mean and how do you do it?  Social selling is when the individual salespeople in an organization use social media such as LinkedIn to connect and interact directly with their buyers. 

We recently hosted a webinar on social selling, Aligning Social Selling with Your Sales Process, where together with Jamie Shanks, one of North America’s leading Social Selling experts, we discussed how to implement social selling skills during each of the stages of the sales process.

In this post, I want to focus on using social selling skills – specifically, LinkedIn - to help you improve sales performance during the crucial first stage of selling: prospecting.

 

The Basics

Many sales people have optimized their LinkedIn profiles to help them land their next job. While your LinkedIn profile may do a great job of showcasing your skills, it may not help a prospect understand what your company offers. So if your objective is to leverage LinkedIn to help you prospect, I recommend optimizing your LinkedIn profile accordingly.

Improve your professional headline to display not only what you do, but also what your company offers.

 

linkedin-profile-social-selling-headline

 

Use other sections in your profile to help your prospects learn more about your company. Leverage rich media attachments to feature educational content relevant to your prospects.

 

linkedin-profile-featuring-company-value

 

Before Prospecting Call

LinkedIn’s social insights boxes enable you to uncover important information about your prospects, which you can use to improve the quality of your prospecting call. Here are two boxes that you should review before placing a call:

 

People Also Viewed shows other profiles that viewers of your prospect’s LinkedIn profile have also looked at. Considering you’re not the only sales professional using LinkedIn to prospect for new business, this list may reveal other decision makers that you may want to learn more about when facing a multi-level selling situation.

 

linkedin-profile-people-also-viewed

 

In Common with [Name] displays a graph of things you have in common with the prospect including groups, skills and expertise, company, and location. Leverage this information to build rapport during your call to start building a great relationship.

 

For example in the sample screenshot below, I discovered that Mavis and I are both members of the ATD LinkedIn Group. During a call I could use this information to ask her if she is attending the ATD Conference this year, where my company will be hosting an expert discussion panel.

 

linkedin-profile-in-common-with

 

After Prospecting Call

After a prospecting call where you connecting with your target, it is critical to consistently maintain ongoing contact with the prospect. But how do you do this without annoying the prospect?  Fortunately, LinkedIn offers many ways where you can engage with the prospect without appearing to be too pushy.

 

THE WHY - Connect with Prospect

First thing you should do after a call is to send connect request on LinkedIn. This will enable you to stay in front of your prospect and keep your company top of mind in between follow-up calls or if the prospect goes silent.

 

THE HOW - Participate Daily

After connecting with a prospect, share daily educational content and advice.

 

linkedin-home-feed-updates

 

If you’re not doing this already, take the 30-Day LinkedIn Challenge for Sales Professionals to get a jump start on building your social selling habits.

 

Improve Your Connect Rate

When having trouble connecting with a specific lead, review the “How You’re Connected” box in the prospect’s LinkedIn profile to see if you have a mutual connections that can get you introduced.

According to a study by Harvard Business Review, 90% of decision makers say they never respond to cold outreach. Getting introduced on LinkedIn may help facilitate connecting with prospects hard to reach.

 

linkedin-profile-how-you-are-connected

 

One common misconception sales people have about social selling is that it will produce instant results.  Unfortunately, there are no silver bullets in any aspect of selling, including using social selling tools such as LinkedIn. Using the social selling tactics described above will help you set more appointments, but only if you’re consistent, as social selling takes time and dedication before seeing better results.

New Call-to-Action

About Alonso Chehade

Alonso is a proven marketing leader with over 10 years of experience. At Sales Readiness Group (SRG) he manages marketing and sales enablement operations. Before SRG, he was an independent marketing consultant for B2B small business and software companies. Alonso earned his B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Washington with a focus on Marketing, Sales, and Entrepreneurship.