This is my inaugural blog post, and while I certainly wont impress you with the prolific ability to output great content at a steady pace like Pam Marketing Nut, my goal is to get out at least one post per month. It may be more if I get riled up about something, but generally I just complain when that happens, so I am “eating my own dog food” and following a content strategy that has been established and mandated by the marketing team here. If you aren’t doing this for your organization right now, start. Right now.
The reason I decided to kick my blogging career off with a post on LinkedIn is that I am a sales guy at heart, and LinkedIn is a prospectors holy grail. You heard it, the hunting mecca of business whales, the land of plenty for cold calling and relationships. All in one spot.
We have the pleasure of doing a lot of consultation on marketing and social media strategy, and find that with most of our clients, there is this fringe group of sales professionals in each organization that are very interested in the social media marketing efforts. As you would imagine, these folks are generally the highest performers, and that is for a reason. I will share more on that a couple paragraphs down.
I can proudly say that I was an early adopter of LinkedIn and can remember getting harassed by others on my team (my boss included) about “wasting my time” making friends online. That is creeping up quickly on 10 years ago, and I am glad I stuck in there.
Since that time, I have closed easily $1MM+ in revenue driven by contacts and relationships grown via LinkedIn. I have never had to look for a new job, they were in front of me everyday and continue to find me weekly. I know exactly what is going on with my clients, competitors, and prospects. All in a free (disclaimer, I pay the upgraded monthly fee) tool.
Because I feel so passionate about this subject, I normally try to teach a “LinkedIn for Sales Professionals” class for each of our clients we have on retainer at low cost. It has proven valuable to everyone that has taken the class, but also has opened my eyes to the number of sales “professionals” that aren’t even on LinkedIn.
I have been frankly shocked at the number of organizations I have walked into that less than 10% of their sales staff is on LinkedIn, or engaging on it if they are.
Are you one of those people? Are there members on your sales staff that are these people?
If so, here is the long and short of it. From a sales and prospecting perspective, if you are not actively using LinkedIn to foster and build relationships, you are decreasing your close ratio, taking money from your company and yourself and robbing yourself of relationships. Not only relationships with current and prospective clients, but future opportunities for yourself and career.
I have a challenge for you if you lead a sales organization. Train your team on LinkedIn, and tell them they need to leverage its power. If they as individuals are not setup on and leveraging LinkedIn 6 months from that point, fire them. If they cant take orders from their leadership they should be fired anyway, however, those that are able to follow the directive will deliver more success in your numbers and pipeline than you have ever seen.
1. Get your own profile (with photo, and not of you in your Speedo) updated to 100%. Do a search, there is a massive amount of information to help you get your profile to 100% completion.
2. Gain a deep understanding of the “advanced search” capabilities within LinkedIn. This is how you find the money.
3. Learn how to “follow” and do it. Follow competitors, prospects, and clients and pay attention to open roles, and who is coming and leaving the organization.
4. Join groups that make sense for your objectives, and INTERACT! Just like a networking group in real life, joining means nothing if you don’t leverage the relationships and provide real value to do such.
5. Understand and start using the “Q/A” section in LinkedIn. Become an expert. If you are selling a specific product or service, I would hope you have become an expert. Act like it, and answer some questions. Prospecting into a new niche? Ask some questions!
6. Don’t play “the victim”. It’s never too late! If you are an old school salesperson that still has 10-15 years left in your career, you better figure it out or you will be essentially overlooked for roles you have been qualified for the past 20+ years. This isn’t rocket science, hunker down and figure it out.
That’s it for now. Give me your feedback, and any other ways you have found to be successful with LinkedIn. Make it work for you as one more lead funnel and relationship channel.