3-Step LinkedIn Social Selling and Lead Generation Process
Does social selling seem too difficult or time consuming to include as part of your daily routine?
Do you need an effective daily lead generation plan that produces results and is designed for your busy schedule?
Social selling is just another way of saying lead generation. It's an essential part of every business strategy to find your ideal clients and build a relationship with them, so that when they need what you offer, they will come to you.
But why is LinkedIn social selling so important?
Because today, a sale is a journey, not an action.
Today companies choose who to work with based on who has become part of their buying journey. Your ideal clients are doing independent research and looking for information to help them make an educated choice about how they will spend their money and ultimately they will choose the company/person who has assisted in their buying journey.
The good news is that you can find these ideal clients, build a relationship with them and establish yourself as a trusted expert on LinkedIn.
Here is a daily LinkedIn social selling plan broken down into three manageable steps to help you effectively and efficiently manage your lead generation activities each day on LinkedIn.
3-Step LinkedIn Social Selling
Step 1: Respond to Messages & Engagement
Every day, begin your LinkedIn social selling plan by addressing the most important tasks, located in the black bar at the top of the page. Here you will see your new messages, notifications and connection requests.
Go through your recent notifications (the middle icon). In the notifications area you will see people who have viewed your profile, people who have followed you, those who have mentioned you, new Publisher posts by your connections and all engagement with your status updates and Publisher posts.
Start by replying to any comments. Click on the specific notification to take you directly to the post or update with the comment(s).
Look through the newest Publisher posts by your connections. If you find one that your network might find value from, click on it to visit the post. After you have determined the post to be share worthy, click the LinkedIn share button and post it as a status update. Make sure to include your perspective before posting.
The next thing you should tackle are the messages you've received. If you're using LinkedIn for lead generation and sending out valuable content to your new connections, some will message you back. Make sure you respond to those messages promptly.
Even though LinkedIn's message center is now set up similar to other social media platforms, it's still a business platform -always keep your communications professional. Avoid the use of emoticons in your messaging unless you know the person really well and have a less formal relationship with them.
Finish your most important tasks by accepting any new connection requests and sending them your welcome message. Ensure that you reply appropriately to any personalized requests.
Step 2: Prospect
The second LinkedIn social selling priority each day should be to prospect. Your goal should be to reach out to a minimum of 5 to 10 people per day. You may wish to connect with a larger number of people depending on how aggressive your sales goals are.
Start by looking at warm prospects before moving on to cold prospecting. Warm prospects have some idea of who you are and may have had some interaction with you or your content.
Who's viewed your posts
One of the best places to find warm prospects is in the Who's viewed your posts page.
Below the graph and demographics for each post is a list of every person who has interacted with the post. You can view them by Likes, Comments and Shares. You are even provided with what they said in their comment or share.
Not only are these people familiar with who you are, they've already had a positive interaction with your content. If you find someone you'd like to connect with, send them a personalized connection request, mentioning their comment or share.
Your Followers page is another great place to locate warm prospects. At the top of this list are the people you're not currently connected to. These people like your content and posts so much that they've chosen to follow you and receive notifications about you, even though you're not connected to them.
Be sure to do a little research and look for a good reason to connect when you send them a personalized connection request.
Another excellent place to locate potential connections is on your Updates page. Here you will find every piece of content you've interacted with, whether you posted it or just engaged with it.
Scroll through your most recent interactions. In each post, look at the people who posted or commented. If you hover over their name you'll be able to see if you're connected with them.
If you aren't connected and would like to be, go to their profile page and send them a connection request that references the post.
Who's viewed your profile
The people listed on this page are people who've visited your profile.
Below the graph at the top, LinkedIn will show the last five people who've viewed your profile with a free account. You'll have access to the entire list for the last 90 days with a Premium account.
If you find people you're not connected to and whom you'd benefit in some way from connecting with, send them a connection request.
When personalizing it, find another reason they would find value from connecting with you other than "I saw you viewed my profile". If seeing your profile was a good enough reason to connect, they would have already sent you a connection request.
Once you've finished reaching out to your warm prospects you can search for your ideal clients using the Advanced Search feature. This feature makes it easy for you to refine your search and narrow down to a very specific set of filters including:
- Current/Past Company
You can further refine your search using Boolean search operators.
Once you've located a potential prospect, take the time to do a little research and using the information you find, reach out and send them a personalized connection request.
Step 3: Build Relationships & Establish Authority
The remainder of your LinkedIn social selling time should be focused on building relationships with your existing connections and establishing your authority as an expert on your topic.
Relationship Building Messages
Once you've connected with a prospect, you need to continue to build the relationship. You do this by sending messages that provide value and help prospects get to know, like and trust you
Start by ensuring that you've sent them a Welcome/Thank You message and then tagged anyone who has accepted your connection requests, as well as those who've sent you an invitation.
It's easy to keep track of where a prospect is in the relationship building sequence if you keep track of your progress using the LinkedIn Relationship Tab with the tags, notes and reminders features within.
Remember that your goal is to move the relationship off-line, as this is where the actual sale will occur in most instances.
Send Helpful Resources
A great way to continue to build the relationship and stay top of mind with your hottest prospects (without coming across as pushy or salesy) is to send them a message with an article or other resource. Not only will this help keep you on their radar, but it'll also position you as a credible authority on your topic and a trusted advisor in their minds.
Plan to reach out to one or more hot prospect a day. Send an article, checklist, video, stat, or whitepaper they'd be interested in with a short note saying you thought of them when you saw this.
I want to share a strong warning here - DO NOT share anything that is self-promotional. You're using content to help your prospects along their buyer's journey, not pitching and trying to close the sale in one step.
Don't make it about you or you'll instantly lose credibility.
Few things leave as strong an impression as that of when someone gives without the expectation of getting anything in return (The Law of Reciprocity). This is also true when you introduce two of your connections to each other.
This should not be done haphazardly and only if you know both people well enough to feel comfortable with the introduction.
Once a week, if you know of two of your connections that could greatly benefit from meeting each other, then take the time to properly give them a formal introduction to each other.
They may just return the favor.
There is a simple secret to successfully positioning yourself as an authority: help your prospects.
One of the best ways to do this on LinkedIn is to post helpful and quality content on LinkedIn Publisher.
LinkedIn Publisher provides you with your own publishing platform, which is similar to a blog on your website. By using LinkedIn's publishing platform, you have the opportunity to reach a new and much larger audience.
In fact, your last three Publisher posts are displayed on your profile and your 1st level connections actually receive a notification each time you post a new article. If your connections interact with your post in anyway (like, comment or share it), it'll then become visible to their 1st level connections as well (expanding your reach to your 2nd level network and beyond).
For optimal results, post new content once a week. In each Publisher post, to ensure maximum views and shares, include a custom cover image (700 X 400 pixels) and add three relevant tags.
Your posts also have a chance to reach even further if they are pulled into LinkedIn Pulse (shared directly on Pulse or in the Pulse email notifications), greatly expanding the number of people who can see your post.
If you aren't sure where to start, it can often help to begin by looking at the Publisher posts of your competitors. What's working for them and what isn't? What topics seem to get the best engagement?
You can also do a little research to look for new ideas from your connections. Find additional content ideas in places like:
- Recent Activity page of your connections
- group posts with high engagement
- popular SlideShare slides
If you're in the B2B sphere, LinkedIn is the social media platform where executives, business owners, entrepreneurs and sales professional go when they're looking for helpful information to help them in their buyer's journey. By becoming skilled at using LinkedIn social selling tactics, you can find your ideal clients, build valuable relationships with them, position yourself as an authority and generate new leads and sales for your business.
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