1. Improve your Sales Team’s Personal Profiles
Often when I send out a quote for a customized LinkedIn training for a sales team or a group of consultants for example, they come back to me saying that they’d like to save costs and skip the part about optimizing their profile and go straight to the prospecting part. I get it, they want to increase their ROI, but unfortunately the second part is not even half effective if you skip the equally important first part. Your sales representative’s LinkedIn profile is the very first impression a client gets of your business. Do you send your sales team to client meetings in jeans and a t-shirt? Probably not, right. Well, some of the profiles I see look worse than jeans & t-shirt, more like underwear and no shirt at all. Pretty bad first impression, no?
So invest in your team and train them on how to improve their LinkedIn profiles. Here are 3 tips:
- Professional profile picture: make sure that all employees are using a professional profile picture. No family shots, silly accessories and extravagant dresses for the ladies.
- Include company visuals: if available, ask your team to upload any company videos, flyers or powerpoint presentations. Your profiles will stand out from the rest.
- Don’t forget contact information: what’s a website worth if there’s no contact information? Not much. Well, the same thing is true with a LinkedIn profile and yet I see so many people omit to add their contact info (phone number and e-mail) to their profile.
2. Grow your network strategically
If you want new clients you need to continuously grow your network. But not just randomly, but strategically. LinkedIn is THE best place for your sales team to search for prospects. Even free accounts can use the Advanced Search to look for potential clients. However if you plan to actively use this feature on a regular basis (which you should) you might encounter the new ‘commercial search limit’ which LinkedIn recently introduced. After a certain number of monthly searches (between 60 and a 100) LinkedIn will prompt you to upgrade your account. Of course you always need to personalize the invitation message.
3. Engage with new contacts
LinkedIn is not a final destination. It’s a place to get to know your prospects, through their updates or through individual messages. So you need to make an effort and stay in touch with them, comment on their updates etc. It’s a good idea to go through your new contacts once per week and see who you haven’t engaged with yet.
4. Do your research on prospects
Before reaching out to your new connections, do your research. Pay attention to changes in their profile, status updates they are posting, connections or groups you have in common. If they have connected their Twitter account, also go check out the content there and follow the. I also advise you follow their LinkedIn company page so you are always up to date on what’s happening in their company.
5. Use InMails the smart way
If you have a paid account and can’t add the person to your network (for example because their settings require you to indicate an e-mail address which you don’t have) then you can use an InMail. But remember the number I mentioned at the beginning of my post: 92% of buyers delete received messages if they don’t know the sender. So in my opinion this direct approach is a much harder sale. It’s doable, but depends a lot on the content of your message and the type of service/product you sell. So when using an InMail always put yourself in the buyer’s shoes: what’s in it for them? Are you helping them with something? Sending them something of value? Or are you going straight for the sale, asking before giving? Think about that the next time you use an InMail… Even more so now, because LinkedIn has recently changed their InMail crediting policy and instead of unanswered InMails, they now only give you a credit for answered InMails !
Now, don’t get me wrong. The sale almost never happens on LinkedIn directly! The traditional lunch or coffee meeting is still crucial. But the relationship building starts on LinkedIn ! So what are you waiting for? My 10 Ingredient Recipe for LinkedIn Success is a good place to start ! < it’s free !