How to Get More Sales from LinkedIn
By Ray Silverstein
Everyone who uses LinkedIn suspects that they could get more from it, sales-wise, if they could only knew how.
So, my company recently sponsored a workshop presented by Larry Kaufman, a LinkedIn keynote speaker and one of LinkedIn’s Top 250 most-connected Americans. Larry is Chief Sales Officer and Partner of Sales Empowerment Group. He’s also a long-term member of my PRO peer groups, and in true peer group fashion, is generous sharing his knowledge.
Now, I’m paying it forward by sharing my top takeaways with you.
Polish Your LinkedIn Profile
Before anything else, make sure you’re presenting yourself at your best. This sounds basic, but it’s easy to overlook.
- Update Your Profile – Chances are, you created your profile years ago and haven’t done much since. Things change; your profile should, too.
- Take Your Time – A good update takes several sessions, so deactivate your “activity broadcasts” (under Privacy Settings) for now. You don’t want contacts receiving notice of every little change. Wait until you’re done.
- Capitalize Your Name – It helps you stand out in any list.
- Expand Your Headline – In addition to your title, add other notable credentials.
- Use a REALLY Good Photo – First, you must feature a photo…no silhouettes. And if don’t have a great business portrait, get one.
- Embed Keywords – Approach your profile the way you would a webpage or blog: use keywords.
- Add Content – Did you know you can upload articles, PDFs, and videos, not to mention website links to get more exposure for your business? (Look for an icon/drop down box throughout your profile page.)
Build Your LinkedIn Presence
- Create a Corporate Page – If you don’t have a company page, create one…yes, even if you’re a solopreneur. (This is one of LinkedIn’s most underutilized features.)
- Use LinkedIn’s “Status Update” feature – It’s a quick, easy way to keep your name out there. If you’re excited about a new product or have industry news, share it.
- Join Relevant Groups –You may learn something, and it’s more exposure. Plus, it puts you in touch with people you may want to know.
- Use InMail – InMail is LinkedIn-style email. The top reason to pay for an premium LinkedIn account is InMail access, but even a basic (free) membership lets you use InMail when sending inviting new connections. Instead of using LinkedIn’s default invitation, always craft a personal note.
- Use “People You May Know” – This feature allows you to expand your network quickly. It draws from the former employers and schools listed in your summary, among other things. When you invite these people to connect, remind them of your shared history.
Leverage Your Connections to Kick-Start Sales
You probably use LinkedIn to mine information about existing prospects, but you can also use it to find—and cozy up to—new ones. Remember ‘six degrees of separation’? Well, two degrees is even better.
The idea: use your first-degree connections’ connections. Are there prospects for you there?
To find out, visit a contact’s profile and view his/her Connections box. If his/her network isn’t hidden, browse it or search it by title.
Make a list of, say, five people you’d like to connect with. Then, send your first degree connection an email, requesting introductions. Include a one-paragraph summary of yourself, and ask your contact to include it in his/her introductory emails. This makes things easy for your contact and lets you control how you’re presented.
Ask that you be cc’d, and as soon as the introduction has been sent, follow up with the prospect. You know how to take it from there. Always thank your contact, and offer to return the favor. Instead of cold calls, you now have warm, personal introductions!
Bottom line: your connections are invaluable to your sales. Tools like LinkedIn let us leverage relationships in fresh, new ways…when we’re willing to take the time to learn how to use them.
If you are interested in a great workbook I’d recommend a great one from another cohort, Zen Benefiel, who compiled it for a workshop in Phoenix. How to Grow Your Business Using LinkedIn.