When you meet someone at a networking event, what's your Number 1 objective? No, it's not to ask them about the weather, nor thrust your business card into their bewildered hand. Your first goal is to engage them in a meaningful conversation.
It's no different on LinkedIn - a great conversation, focused on your prospect (it's not all about you) builds trust and in doing so you open the door to a more meaningful conversation down the line.
More than 65% of my new connections respond to this message and rarely do we not go on to exchange at least 3 to 4 further single message responses, as we enter into a conversation.
The example you see above is sent when someone invites me to connect and I send a virtually identical response message when someone accepts my invtation to connect. All I do is simply alter the last line of the message to read, " ..and what was it about my profile that inspired you to accept my invitation to connect with you?"
Asking the other person how useful they are finding LinkedIn, is a question you can ask, whether you're a LinkedIn speaker and trainer, like myself, or not. You are simply looking to engage in conversation, without resorting to selling at the very first point of contact.
There are 2 possible scenarios to consider;
1) The conversation develops naturally, following your initial question and it is not difficult to direct it around to a discussion about how you can help them or their business - that's the easy scenario.
2) The conversation is not really developing so you a) decide to offer to send them some useful information, relating to your services that they would immediately find beneficial to their life or their business and you perhaps gain their agreement to keep in touch with similar information going forward, in the hope they will consider your company when the time is right.
Option 2 is a useful long-game to play. By providing relevant and beneficial information to your prospect, either via LinkedIn or by gaining approval to include them in your regular email marketing, means you can continue to market your brand in a non-salesy manner, building more know, like and trust over time.
Let's face it, sales is often a time-sensitive occupation, meaning that if you don't hit your sales targets for this month, then your boss is going to become over-sensitive and your time at the company might be up. If it's your own company, then the pressure to make more sales becomes arguably, even more important and time-sensitive.
Social selling however, is not about applying 'old school' direct selling tactics, it requires you to build trust with your prospect by adding real value to their business. Therefore, your follow up LinkedIn messages must add value at each step of the way.
It's important to recognise that unless you're going to add real value to your new LinkedIn connection's business, then taking such a direct route to promote your services could backfire on you and you will lose the trust of your new connection. However, an initial polite sales approach, could open the door to a potential new sale far more quickly than a long-term content nurturing strategy.
Let' break this message down into 3 simple steps:
Not everyone using LinkedIn is on this platform to sell but you may be. If you are looking to create more sales from your time on Linked then remember these 3 rules:
6.8 – remember this number it’s important. According to one
of the most in-depth studies of more than 3000 B2B buyers, conducted by the
international research firm Gartner and their recently acquired subsidiary CEB
(formerly the Corporate Executive Board), 6.8 is the number of stakeholders who
will determine whether your sales proposal will be accepted by the company
you’re hoping to sell to.
Try and recall the last time an enthusiastic member of your sales team uttered similar words to these; “the deal’s in the bag boss, I just need to phone my contact later this week, after she’s had chance to run our proposal past her CEO and a couple of other people.”
Fast forward to Friday and you ask the same salesperson if he’s received a decision from his prospect? Somewhat crest-fallen, your employee explains; “I called her this morning and she told me that although she loves our proposal-in fact she thinks we’re great and really wants to get us in to work with their business - unfortunately she’s been unable to obtain final sign-off. She’s asked me to keep in touch but wasn’t able to give me a date when a decision is likely”
How many ‘dead-cert’ deals can you recall that simply faded away? Here’s the reality, your salesperson isn’t going to get the call from his prospect, in fact, he probably isn’t going to hear from her ever again. Welcome to the world of the diverse buying group!
93% of B2B buyers research the services they need online first & continue to gather additional purchasing information during the buying process, using digital channels. In fact these buyers spend 27% of their buying process time researching suitable products and services via digital channels.
If you were purchasing products or services from your company, how buyer friendly would you find your website and social media profiles to navigate? Would they clearly & quickly:
Explain the problems you solve or the outcomes you deliver for your clients❓
How you deliver your solutions❓
Who you help, including case studies/testimonials from similar clients❓
How a buyer should engage with your company to purchase your services❓
Imagine it's Day-1 of your business. You've created your product or service, set up your website and you're ready to open your 'store'. Now, all you require is for plenty of customers to visit your shop.
Picture your business, whatever product or service you produce, as a retail shop on a busy high street. You head to the front door, to open-up for the day when suddenly you stop dead in your tracks. As you look out, you see a crowd of people, hundreds in fact and they're all looking in your shop window - some are actually knocking on your door, wanting to come in and check out what you have for sale.
"I'm leaving LinkedIn, as it's done nothing for me!" That was the headline of a LinkedIn post I read recently. I was alerted to this outburst by one of my connections, who had tagged me, possibly in the hope that I might be able to offer this individual some words of comfort and explain where it was all going wrong. It soon became obvious when I viewed his profile however, just why LinkedIn wasn't working for him.
A half completed profile, no posts or evidence of engagement with anyone else's activity, quite what was this person expecting? If you decide that telemarketing is a way of attracting new clients but you don't actually dial and make any calls, guess what - you won't be successful at telesales. If you turn up to a networking event with no clear idea of how you're going to explain what you do and how you can help others and you leave your business cards at home, you're not going to be the world's greatest networker. So, why do some people expect LinkedIn to be any different?
Engagement is a word you'll hear quite a lot when it comes to using LinkedIn and other social media but what does engagement really mean and how do you know if you are being engaging online or not?
Among other definitions, the English Oxford Dictionary suggests that the verb 'To engage' means to occupy or attract (someone's interest or attention) or involve someone in (a conversation or discussion). When you examine your most recent LinkedIn posts do you feel they occupied or attracted anyone's attention and when was the last time you got involved in a conversation (N.B a conversation is not sending a thumbs up reply or a standard LinkedIn response message) with another LinkedIn user?
Any infection will lay you low and if that illness continues for more than a few days, there's always a risk, in some instances, that it could become terminal. Many small to medium sized businesses experience a particular type of infection that if not treated will first paralyse that business and in time take such a hold that the outcome is the death of that company.
Last week I met with a sales director to discuss LinkedIn training and I how could help that organisation's sales team develop a continuous pipeline of potential new clients.
As the sales director read through my proposal, he came to a list of the clients I had worked with to date; firms like FedEx, the British Red Cross, Toyota GB, Deloitte, Oxford Brookes University and many others. He turned to me and said "There's some pretty big names here. How did you get to work with these firms?" . I replied with a slight smile and one word, "LinkedIn" .
1 in every 5 parents think that there are no age requirements for joining a social media site and most parents in the UK have no idea whether their children are old enough to have a social media account.
I got cross this week, mainly cross with myself I must say. On Thursday, I'd set some time aside, late in the day, to carry out my usual LinkedIn and social selling activities, when I received a scheduled call from a client.
I’d kind of expected the call to last 15 minutes or so and when, 45 minutes later, we were still talking, I began to realise that my social selling window had rapidly diminished.
After 20 minutes, I knew I’d missed the boat, as far as engaging with my network for that day was concerned and I was cross for 2 reasons; one because I knew I was clock watching and after 20 minutes or so, not giving my client the full attention he deserved and 2, because I knew that I should not have left my social selling activity until the last job of the day!