Sales Training for B2B Sales Professionals and Entrepreneurs
Selling on LinkedIn is quickly replacing cold calling as the most effective means of prospecting. Buyers prefer this because it is less intrusive. After all, they can answer if and when they are interested rather than being interrupted. The lower level of imposition is preferred by sellers as well, as they prefer not to be the “intruder.” With all this said, there are certainly good and bad ways to sell on LinkedIn. Today I’ll share with you how to sell on LinkedIn in three simple steps:
Show you have done some research
I once received an invitation to connect with the wording “I checked out your profile, and it is very impressive!”… Umm… Thanks? This person wanted to sound relevant, but didn’t bother to spend even one minute to find a talking point in my profile. The person could have easily said “I see that you’re passionate about sales training” or “I loved your article about…” The takeaway lesson is to sincerely compliment a point in their profile, website, or LinkedIn activity.
Offer something of value
Have you ever received an invitation to connect, and immediately after you accept, they make an offer to do business? This is a perfect antithesis of how to sell on LinkedIn! In the same way you wouldn’t ask someone to marry you on the first date, don’t ask for a sale on the first interaction. People need to know, like, and trust you before doing business. Hold off the sales pitch until you have earned their attention.
To deserve a buyers’ time, you must offer something that they value upfront. This may be:
– Information (e.g. webinar, whitepaper, research findings)
– Sharing your experience (e.g. We helped companies like yours to increase sales by 20%, and would like to share what worked well)
– Creating quality connections (e.g. I’m looking to create partnerships with local businesses in this industry)
Note that for the third option, that you must be even slower to make an offer. The premise for the meeting is to connect, so to sell at this engagement would be equivalent to trickery.
It’s easy to assume that if a person does not respond, that they are not interested. The reality is however, that everyone is busy. Busy professionals aren’t constantly checking LinkedIn messages, and sometimes even interesting messages can be forgotten. I remember seeing the LinkedIn inbox of one manager with over one thousand unread messages! (These professionals are probably best contacted via other means!)
If a prospect hasn’t replied to your initial message, write to them again mentioning that you’re just checking to gauge their interest. Additionally, you can take the pressure off by letting them know it’s okay to respond with “no thanks.” You may also consider picking up the phone to call them, referencing LinkedIn as the introductory talking point.
The golden rule in selling is to never make assumptions. If in doubt, ask! You’ll be pleasantly surprised by how often people will appreciate you reminding them of your offer. If you want to know how to sell on LinkedIn, you must be willing to follow up!
How to Sell on LinkedIn Wrap Up
Selling on LinkedIn follows the same principles as cold (introductory) calls. You must differentiate yourself and be relevant by showing you have done your research. Next, you have to offer something of value to them without any expectation of return. Finally, with all good sales processes, you must follow up. Now that you know how to sell on LinkedIn effectively, the only step left for you is to start making approaches!