With over 450 million registered members, LinkedIn is a powerful network of prospects, peers, and ultra connected professionals. Whether you're operating globally, nationally, or locally, LinkedIn is a melting pot of opportunities. For the dedicated sales professional, LinkedIn is the ideal social network, yet it's often underutilised. Whilst the daily routine of prospecting, sales meetings, and follow up calls can easily get in the way of social activity, it shouldn't. LinkedIn could be key to your ongoing success.
By building a strong professional brand on LinkedIn you'll achieve the holy trio of opportunity; credibility, ongoing referrals, and new business contacts. LinkedIn doesn't just work alongside your daily sales activities, if done well, it'll back them up, whilst driving new opportunities to your door.
To help improve your LinkedIn presence, gain more referrals, and step up your prospecting game, here are some of our top tips.
1. Get the fundamentals right
OK, let's start with the obvious. If you want a strong LinkedIn presence, you'll need to keep your profile picture and updates professional. Set the scene with a well taken photo – blurry images need not apply. With the small amount of 'real estate' on offer, it's best to go for a headshot, but that doesn't mean it has to be boring. Choose a shot that makes you look open and approachable, and forget the dour serious look.
Remember: LinkedIn users with a profile photo receive 14x more profile views than those without, so take the time to make sure your profile picture shows you in the best light.
2. Optimise your profile
A strong LinkedIn presence is inextricably linked with visibility. To increase your chances of appearing in relevant search results, you'll need to optimise your profile with relevant keywords. The key for any sales professional is to concentrate on including the words that your customers are searching for. What products or services do you offer that they might be looking for? What problems do they have? What are their pain points?
3. Write an engaging headline
Sure, you could just put your job title, but your LinkedIn headline is a chance to catch a prospect's attention. If you really want a customer-focused profile, think about what your customer needs to know. Your prospects are on LinkedIn searching for connections with the answers to their problems. When writing your headline, incorporate relevant keywords whilst showcasing your value proposition. What problems do your services or products solve? Distil your offer into a headline and you'll be on the road to success.
4. Write a killer summary
Ideally you want your summary to do three things: Gain attention, spark a prospect's curiosity, and earn a response. To do so, you'll need to balance your experience with the following elements:
- What you do
- Who you do it for (your ideal customer)
- How you help your customers
- Why customers should choose you (what do you do differently?)
What they should do next (CTA)
Consider each of those points carefully and write a summary matched to your niche or industry. Remember, when writing a summary, less is more. It needs to be easy to read and quick to scan. Pull out the fluff and break up each section to add clarity.
As a side note, don't be afraid to add a little personality – you need to make prospects want to contact you.
5. Post regular updates
If you want attention, you need to put yourself out there. Keep 'top of mind' by posting regular updates that are useful or of interest to your prospects and current customers. Think about the problems that your customers are facing and either produce your own informative content, or curate content that they'll find useful. The more shares and likes you receive, the more visible your updates will be to your contacts and their network.
6. Be an active member of relevant groups
Whatever your particular niche is, you can be sure there'll be plenty of relevant groups for you to take an active role in. Avoid actively promoting your wares and let your advice and input do the talking. By offering useful insight you'll build credibility and hopefully earn some leads.
7. Gain endorsements and referrals
Endorsements and referrals are the gold dust of the sales world. LinkedIn endorsements give your profile and brand credibility. When a prospect sees an endorsement that rings true, it could be the difference between a sale and a dead lead. The key is to not fall into the trap of asking every one of your contacts for an endorsement. Be choosy who you reach out to, and make sure you’re in an appropriate position to ask for one. Pick out your favourite clients, the ones that you went the extra mile for, and ask them to write an honest endorsement.
8. Avoid template InMails
Template InMails are a massive turn off and most prospects can smell them a mile away. In fact, as a general rule, you should avoid template prospecting in all its forms, whether InMails, emails or scripted calls. Take time to research your prospects, find out what they're struggling with, get a feel for their experience, history, contacts etc. and then reach out to them personally.
9. Start your day with easy LinkedIn actions
Once you've built a strong profile, building a LinkedIn presence shouldn't take up too much of your time. Start your day by heading to your LinkedIn homepage and find activity of interest. Like and comment on your connection's updates, and share updates of your own.
It only takes a few minutes, but from a small seed a mighty trunk may grow. Before long, your connections will see you as a trusted industry expert, and with careful nurturing that credibility will convert into hard sales.
If you’re looking for a new position within the Sales sector, or need to hire a Sales professional, then get in touch with us today!