Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Leveraging Linked In for your Sales - Part 1

The business dedicated social network Linked In has a growing importance to Sales 2.0. as can been seen from this slide ( left) from the 2010 Buyers' Views Survey. Scroll down for link for Executive summary at bottom of this post.
The network allows to link up with many useful groups in the profession.

One of the most useful groups to join through Linked In is Modern Selling Click for Modern The site has interesting discussion groups and is packed full with useful information on the contemporary selling arena.

In this blog post ,I have adapted the extensive article “21 Ways to Master Linked in by Paul Castain” into three digestible posts. This is part 1.( Scroll down for link to his article at foot of this post.)
I have also inter weaved shared best practice from others suggestions on best practice for Salespeople wishing to leverage more out of Linked In.

There have also been a couple of excellent articles by David Batup in Winning Edge magazine ( Sept/Oct & Nov/Dec 2010)
Click for info on Winning Edge Magazine

1) Paul Castain advocates we change our expectation of Social Networking! This is a long term strategy nearer to a courtship rather than a shot gun marriage.

2) Put some thought into your profile and make sure it does justice to the brand we call “YOU”!

What do you want it say about you?
What image do you want to present?
Get a photo. Due to the postage stamp representation have a head and shoulders shot. It’s not particularly “social” to social network with the grey silhouette of the man/woman.

Want to improve your “Googleability”? Then by all means make your profile public by clicking here

You Google potential clients, don’t you? They of course Google you. Consider using the privacy settings if you don’t want people to know that you viewed their profile. This way you can check out a potential client without them thinking you’re a stalker.

Tip: Do you want your connections visible to everyone in your network? Do you have some clients that would be put off if they find out you are doing work for their competitors? Then click on this link

3) Use a creative title or tag line to set you apart from the masses. Our biggest challenge , is being memorable.

4) Join Groups: The biggest mistake many people make is joining groups in their industry exclusively. I think that’s great, but you better branch out

Here are 5 types of groups you need to belong to

1. Industry Groups (be selective) . It is always good to know what’s going on, perhaps you want to bounce things off of peers etc. Just know that at times, this can be like that familiar face you cling to at a networking event. It’s safe and can become a convenient excuse for you not to branch out. Don’t spend all your time here!

2. Vertical Groups you want to deal in. A Vertical Group is an industry that you are targeting.
Tip: Go where the money is! There are certain industries that are thriving right now. By joining these groups you learn their language, challenges, opportunities etc. You also begin to position yourself as an authority to your target audience.

3. Local Groups & Groups in areas you want to build up. Consider groups in areas you regularly visit.

4. Professional Groups that help you perfect your work. I belong to numerous sales groups, my recruitment colleagues belong to recruiting and HR related groups. Surround yourself with other professionals in your chosen line of work!

N.B. Sales Groups are important on many levels.
1. They will help you keep your finger on the pulse right now since sales people are pretty much out there on the front line.
2. you will pick up some good best practices and
3. Sales people can be a point of entry an often overlooked channel.

5. Parallel Groups: These are groups that share the same target audience as you but are in different industries. You can do the same in building your network through the various parallel groups!

N.B.: According to a study published by Epsilon, emails sent through social networks have a 24% higher open rate than traditional email?

5) Get off the touch line and participate. Get the feel of your group. Contribute! Add value! This help makes you more visible and helps with your personal branding. Initiate your own discussions in those groups. This is how you stand out! What are some thought provoking, appropriate discussions you could start in your group?

6) Don’t abuse sites with infomercials on your company or start discussions that are blatant self promotion. The community will soon see through this.!

Should you belong to a group that is cluttered up with spam and self 'puffery', alert the group manager and if that does not work, then put your efforts elsewhere. They are a waste of your time!

7) Facilitate don't abdicate your discussions! . Don’t light the fuse to a discussion and then disappear. It displays bad manners; you are letting your discussion to go inactive sooner than it needs to. You want your discussion up at the top of the first page of discussions to give you greater visibility position.

Tip: Don’t start new discussions too soon until your existing discussions have had an opportunity to bloom.

Click for membership of Institute of Sales & Marketing Management

Click for free executive summary of the Buyers Views of salespeople research study

1 comment:

  1. Nice one Hugh - I detect an expert blogger, digital seller and networker in the making here!

    And yes, of course you can use the link back to us - "please do", or "thank you", in fact.

    Best regards - Neil