In a previous article (see The 4 Secrets of Social Commerce From the Head of Social Selling at LinkedIn), I interviewed Mike Derezin, VP of LinkedIn Sales Solutions. Given the incredible insights he shared, I went back again and talked to Mike about what you should be doing to attract your ideal customer on LinkedIn.
Step 1: Find The Right People via More Intelligent Search
"Most people think of LinkedIn as a recruiting tool" says Mike Derezin, "and while that's been an incredible part of our growth story, the another key opportunity for most businesses is the social selling aspect of LinkedIn. And that starts with right search." You might be interested to know that LinkedIn processes around nine billion searches per year or around 750 million per month.
Seems obvious enough, but the highest ROI of your time starts with knowing who you should be talking to. If you know the name of a person you want to do business with and you do a Google search, more often than not you'll find their LinkedIn profile where you can get all kinds of insights about that person. "Finding common ground is one of the most powerful ways to connect with people" explains Mr. Derezin. "I have many stories of deals getting done because a salesperson took the time to research and discover interests outside of their top prospects job function. Let's say you are a soccer coach, for example in your off time. You can connect with someone else who's also a soccer coach and you then have a shared experience that can serves as a great foundation."
And within LinkedIn, you can do advanced searches around: (1) Geography so that you can pinpoint physical locations where you'd like to focus your efforts, (2) Industry so that you are focused on the right companies interested in what you have to offer, (3) Titles so that you are connecting with the right level, (4) Keywords to get really specific around what you're looking for, and several other attributes. When you use Sales Navigator (the paid version of LinkedIn for sales professionals) you can go even deeper with things like Look Alike Leads--as the average sales has more than five decision makers to influence.
Step 2: Build a Strong Profile
One of the biggest mistakes salespeople make is treating their LinkedIn profile like an online resume (even when they ARE looking for a job). Having a list of your accomplishments is an out-dated concept and you need to up your game. Ask yourself what your ideal prospect is looking for? What specific keywords would they use to look for someone who solves the problem you and your company solve? Then update your profile so that it speaks directly to your superpower.
"Your LinkedIn profile should not be a laundry list of your accomplishments," advises Mr. Derezin. "Instead, it should be a powerful statement about who you are and what problems you solve." Exactly. If you are a real-estate agent, why should I hire you versus every other agent out there? If you are a lawyer, what can I count on from you to ensure the outcomes I seek? If you are a coach, how will you empower me to breakthrough and reach any goal I set for myself? I don't care how many clients you have, how much revenue you've secured, or which companies you've worked for. What I DO care about is what you can do for me and how you add more value to my business. Do that and you're sure to stand out from everyone else in your field.
Step 3: Share More and Sell Less
This one is a bit counter-intuitive, so let me explain. Imagine you're sitting at your desk and the phone rings. Out of force of habit, you accidentally answer the phone before checking Caller ID. Immediately the person on the other end of the line launches into a sales pitch. At this moment, all you are thinking is "How quickly can I hang up on this person and get back to what I was doing?"
When you constantly try to sell on LinkedIn, you seem like a pushy used car salesman trying to close a deal--so don't do it. Instead, take some time to really think about what you client wants (not from you, but from anyone). What they truly want is an expert who can help guide them through their (buyer's) journey.
"Rather than jump right into selling your product or service, take some time to curate really great content that your ideal customer is interested in" explains
Mr. Derezin. "You can start really simple by identifying an article that you think is insightful and publish it to your network with a one sentence description of why you think it's important. This will help you add real value and begin to attract the people you want to connect with on LinkedIn."
And, of course, if you are really passionate about a particular subject, you always have the option of publishing a long form post on LinkedIn. The more you share, the more value you add and the more likely you are to attract your ideal customers.
Don't Hesitate--Get in the Game!
A final word of advice from Nike, "Just Do It!" It's easy to get overwhelmed by all the cool things you can be doing on LinkedIn, so most people end up doing little to nothing. One of my favorite quotes from Tony Robbins is, "Knowledge isn't power; it's potential power. Execution trumps knowledge any day of the week." You have the knowledge, but if you do nothing with it then you're not putting the power of LinkedIn to work for you and your business.
Schedule just 30 minutes a week to implement what you just learned and track the incredible growth of your business. You're almost through the first quarter of 2016. If your sales aren't where you want them to be, it's not too late to change the trajectory of where you are today and finish strong. So I'll ask another favorite Tony Robbins question, "When would NOW be a good time to get started?"