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Social Selling Comments from 3 Well-Educated Sales Leaders

Ah, summertime…and the sellin’ is easy. If your sales team knows how to use LinkedIn to connect with decision makers, that is. More and more corporations are realizing the benefits of a formal LinkedIn training program. Most salespeople representing quality products enjoy working with well-educated customers who understand value. Here are comments I heard recently from three different customers that let me know we had a good match.

How To Respond to LinkedIn Invitations from People You Don’t Know

I generally follow LinkedIn’s guideline to only connect with people I know. Introductions is one of the most valuable benefits of Social Selling with LinkedIn. Insuring that I know my Connections increases the chances I can make introductions on their behalf. This is important in B2B selling because it is harder than ever to reach decision makers.

Here is how I usually react to a standard (default message) LinkedIn invitation from someone that I do not know:

Step 1: I take a quick glance at their Profile. Are they a prospect? Do we share Connections, Employer, Industry, Geography or some other obvious commonality? On rare occasions, the result of the glance is an Accept. If not, I go to Step 2.

Step 2: Send them a Reply. Note: You can Reply to an Invite without accepting it (Click pull down tab). Here is what my boilerplate message says:

The New LinkedIn App for iPad Blew Me Away

The new LinkedIn app for iPad is amazing. It is a very different from the browser-based experience we are all used to with LinkedIn. It really takes advantage of the iPad iOS features that have made the iPad such a ground-breaking media consumption device. From a sales perspective, the layout makes it very easy to stay up to date on industry trends and what’s going on with your Connections.

There are three sections to the app.

    1.

Updates –

    It is like Flip Board if you know what that is. If not, think “digital magazine” with the added bonus that your Connections and Group member are the Editors.

2. You– This is where you can post your own Updates and view your Connections [i.e. LinkedIn Address Book]

3. Inbox – This is where you can keep up with LinkedIn invitations, messages from Connections, and InMails from non-Connections. The layout is similar to modern email programs, particularly the latest version of Apple Mail.

LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator Assists Social Selling

LinkedIn introduced Sales Navigator in San Francisco this week. Sales Navigator is a Premium subscription designed to help corporate salespeople identify and connect with decision makers.  It makes perfect sense. LinkedIn has always been a powerful sales prospecting tool for two reasons:

1. LinkedIn is a Killer Database:LinkedIn has 150+ Million names with fresh, user-supplied details. Its Advanced People Search allows salespeople to easily find members that match an ideal customer profile.

2. LinkedIn is Social: The social networking aspect of LinkedIn offers the possibility of discovering a mutual contact to provide an introduction, thereby increasing the chances of making that all-important initial connection.

Many people are surprised to learn that Sales Navigator is one of twelve Premium subscriptions available from LinkedIn. There are three levels (think Good, Better, Best) of four user categories (Salesperson, General Business, Recruiter, and Job Seeker). Sales Navigator is the middle of the Sales category.

Following are six key selling features that Sales Navigator delivers that are not available with the free version of LinkedIn.

Dale Carnegie and Modern Social Networking

Social Media is often touted as the new way of doing business and while many of the tools like LinkedIn and Facebook are new, they are built on fundamental principles of human communication and relationships. No one captured those fundamentals better than Dale Carnegie in his 1936 book, How to Win Friends and Influence People.  Despite being written 76 years ago, this book about interpersonal skills is still popular today.

One section is called “Six Ways to Make People Like You”.  Here are the six principles and how they apply to business networking with LinkedIn:

Become Genuinely Interested in Other People.

This is primarily an internal or attitudinal perspective.  It is reflected in how you approach LinkedIn. Do you see it as a way to increase your network and your value to others or do you view it only as a database to hunt for prospects?

Smile.

This visual cue of openness is best displayed via your LinkedIn photo. Your photo is popping up in more places on LI these days so make a good impression with a business-appropriate headshot.  Your face should fill the frame so you are recognizable in that tiny image… and don’t forget to show some teeth.

Start Me Up: Getting That Crucial First Appointment

“I know how to sell once I get in front of a prospect, but getting that first appointment is tougher than ever.” I hear this lament from salespeople all the time.

Years of sales experience and thousands of dollars spent on “Miller-Spinner-Solutionized-Centrical” sales training has resulted in many sales reps knowing how to Qualify, Present, Differentiate, Negotiate, and Close sales.

The problem is that it is harder than ever to break through caller ID, voicemail, and the overused but easily deleted email route to reach a new prospect.

The situation is like when the hotel desk clerk gives you directions to your destination., “just get on the 101, head south to I-85, and….” “Hold it”, you interrupt, “can we start with how I get out of the parking lot and get onto the 101?”

4 Choices for Corporate LinkedIn Sales Training

Sales executives at leading B2B companies are recognizing the benefits of a strategic approach to LinkedIn selling skills. With the move toward formal LinkedIn sales training, the question of who should do the training arises. There are four types of choices. Here they are with their Pros and Cons:

1. Internal Marketing: This is often the intern or “young kid” from Marketing who is a Social Media wiz kid. She’ll have a million Facebook fans and Twitter followers and know about all the latest applications. The drawback is that,

Who’s Looking at You, Kid?

Do you regularly review the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section on LinkedIn? WVYP shows who’s been looking at your profile and how many times you have shown up in search results. Not only is a curiosity stimulator (“why was that person checking me out on LinkedIn?”), it can be a good source of leads – if you reach out to them. I regularly review the viewer’s Profile and send them a message if they look like a prospect (i.e. a sales executive).

How to Build Stronger Relationships with Your LinkedIn Power Connections

Would you like to strengthen your relationships with your top LinkedIn Connections? Do you want to be top-of-mind with the movers and shakers in your business network?

Here is a LinkedIn tip combo that will help. Turn UP the volume on one information channel and Turn DOWN the volume on another. The first step is to tune into more Types of updates. You can do this by entering the LinkedIn “Settings” are (under your name in the upper right hand corner) and going to the last tab at the bottom – ACCOUNT (look for the “shield” icon). Click on “Customize the updates you see on your home page”. You will have the ability to enable home page views of the following information:

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