LinkedIn’s research shows that sales professionals who use social selling get better results.
These numbers represent just a sampling of the mounting evidence proving the undeniable value of social selling.
LinkedIn is rapidly becoming a go-to tool for sales reps looking to increase their network, build stronger connections, and reach more decision makers.
We spoke with two of our top social sellers to find out how they use LinkedIn to crush their quotas.
Ashlie Boren – Business Development Rep (Corporate Enterprise)
Whenever I’m looking to sell to a particular company, I visit its LinkedIn page and use the search function to look for specific employees relevant to the sales organization.
Some might advocate only trying to find those with specific titles, like VP or director of sales, but I don’t like to discriminate. I’ve found a lot of useful information about companies and organizational structure from employees in many different roles.
I reach out to those who accept my connection requests using a fairly standard message that incorporates the following highlights:
- Quick introduction
- Mention who else I’ve spoken with at the organization
- Overview of XANT
- Invitation to discuss further
Inboxes fill up fast, so I’ve found reaching out via LinkedIn helps me break through some of the clutter. It also allows prospects to see who I am and gain a sense of trust based on any mutual connections we have.
When somebody responds, I can either set up a time for a discussion or hand them over to my closer.
Final words of advice
Always keep your LinkedIn profile as up to date as possible. That way you always present your best self to those you’re trying to speak with.
Second, never be intimidated. If someone doesn’t want to connect with you, they won’t. They won’t remember who you are or anything about you, so you might as well go for it.
Lance Richards – Account Executive (SMB)
There’s a book by Malcolm Gladwell called “Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking,” which discusses a principle called “Thin-Slicing.”
Essentially, this principle emphasizes finding patterns in events in only a short amount of time.
Gladwell shares an example of a well-known marital expert, John Gottman. Gottman is capable of determining with 95% accuracy if a couple will still be together in 15 years after only an hour of observing them. When Gottman has 15 minutes, his accuracy only falls to 90%.
I try to take the same approach in my social prospecting efforts.
I use LinkedIn to quickly thin-slice people and adjust my communication style to best match the personas of those I want to speak with.
I’ve found one of the quickest ways to learn someone’s persona is by looking at their profile picture.
Adding a face to a name dramatically improves my approach when I first contact a prospect.
For example, you’d take a very different approach if you were contacting a baby boomer living in the Midwest than if you were speaking with a millennial living in Seattle.
Another thing I like to do, and we hear it a lot, is to use social media to find something in common with prospects.
You really only need one thing to build rapport and get a conversation flowing.
I remember one particular instance when I was speaking with a prospect who was a big University of Kentucky basketball fan. I mentioned how much I hated his team because I was a University of Utah fan.
Given the history of these two teams, it sparked another conversation and soon I felt completely confortable talking with him about XANT.
Final words of advice
When looking at a prospect’s profile, be sure to check their connections and endorsements. Someone who has a low number of these things may be in a new position, or not yet very influential in their role.
Instead, try to connect with someone who has lots of connections and strong endorsements.
Want to master social selling? Download the free ebook below.
Free eBook: 42 LinkedIn Tips for Inside Sales
Gain access to 42 tips from industry experts Ken Krogue and Jamie Shanks on how to grow your business through LinkedIn.
LinkedIn InMail and Email Secrets for a 60% Response Rate
Social Selling and the Law of Reciprocity
Cold Calling Is Dead, Thanks to LinkedIn [ebook]
31 Twitter Tips, Tools and Best Practices
Creating Epic Content on a Shoestring Budget
How to Use LinkedIn as the Ultimate Social Selling Tool [ebook]