You’ve optimised your LinkedIn profile, started to grow your network on the platform, liked a few of your followers’ posts, and published a few articles on LinkedIn Pulse.
You’ve covered the basics, now it’s time to start selling, right?
Sure – if you want your audience to head for the hills…
Presumably, you’d like to grow your following – not reduce those that you have to hill-dwellers.
LinkedIn is a superb marketing vehicle that can drive quality leads and send sales skyward – if you use the platform correctly! Get the timing of your sales pitch wrong, and goodbye leads, sales – and maybe your reputation.
Most times, professionals start pitching too early: over-eagerness to drum up new leads and opportunities can result in impatience, misunderstanding of follower intentions, and misuse of LinkedIn accounts. And it’s just a terrible sales strategy.
However, it is equally a crime to miss the unique benefits of LinkedIn to create opportunities – through inactivity, letting your account sit idle, or realising opportunities too late.
Timing is everything on LinkedIn. Here are a few pointers to help you know when to start using the platform to ‘sell’.
First, earn the right to sell your services
Before you start social selling, make sure to have an optimized, professional profile. Then you need to grow your network and your influence on the platform.
How to start building your social audience? With consistent activity.
Only with consistent posting and engaging will you EARN the right to be able to introduce offers to your network, later.
Without earning this right, you will come across as another two-bit player and your sales pitches will seem like just another hollow sales ad.
Activity builds your foundation on LinkedIn and it takes time to build the necessary influence to pull people in towards you, rather than pushing out towards them.
Remember the lighthouse and the tugboat here. You want to be the lighthouse that shines as a beacon of safety in the stormy seas, helping clients to safety.
The tugboat approach of ‘pulling’ them to safety might also work but it is harder, involves more work in the long run, and may put your own life at risk.
Work on building influence through social activity before you even start introducing offers to your network. Earn the right to introduce the offer.
Dreaming of building a highly-profitable consulting business?
Creating the sales pitch opportunity
Quality content, group interaction, likes, comments, and status updates, all help you appear consistently and prominently in the news feeds of your followers.
After you have consistently added value to your social network daily by engaging with your followers, it’s time to introduce an offer.
This is where the ‘social selling’ part begins. And it takes activity of a different kind.
Now is not the time to shrink. Remember: missing the opportunity is just as big a crime as jumping in too early.
So here’s where you get more direct with your prospects. Why?
Because of the following:
If you send someone a short and simple sales offer on LinkedIn, after having engaged with them and provided them with value, AND it lands in their inbox at a point in time when they have a specific NEED for it, then it creates an opportunity.
This is when a simple connection or ‘lead’ becomes an opportunity; you have the chance to turn the opportunity into a sale.
The numbers game in Sales
It’s worth remembering the simple rule of sales that if you don’t ask you don’t get; importantly, you’ve earned the right to ask through engagement with your followers.
Many professionals and business leaders hesitate at this point. The question you ask may involve a NO answer – and that introduces doubts and fears into worried minds.
This may hark back to childhood when the word NO was associated with doing something wrong and having negative consequences.
But you shouldn’t be fearful of the word. People don’t usually say NO because they don’t like you (unless you jump in with the sales talk too early); it’s usually because the offer’s not right for them. They are not against you; they are for themselves! It may just be the wrong time.
Getting a YES or a NO should be welcomed; it’s the MAYBEs that create the problems and the delays.
As you may have worked out, the more offers you send out the more YES and NOs you will get. That’s why you need a decent size of network to target and hence my previous tips on how to grow that network.
You can ignore the NOs. The number of YES answers will be the statistic that will help you increase your sales and grow your business.
It really is a numbers game:
To enter this numbers game, you have to pay the entrance fee – and there are no discounts!
You need to pay with your time and your commitment to daily activity on LinkedIn for a period of months.
Only then will you have built up the necessary credibility and influence for your offer to be taken seriously; and only then will you stand a chance of winning the numbers game.