3 Steps to an Effective LinkedIn Sales Strategy
"How much time do I need to invest in prospecting on LinkedIn each day?" The answer may surprise you. Getting more response, and earning leads, means developing a LinkedIn sales strategy that sets aside the time investment question. Instead, focus on applying an exceptional, proven approach to LinkedIn.
Make sure everything you do on LinkedIn has one goal in mind: getting prospects hungry for more details, answers, short-cuts or satisfying experiences.
Put response at the heart of your LinkedIn sales strategy using a better idea: Make everything you put on LinkedIn create irresistible curiosity in what you (or your team) can do for prospects. Make what you say, and how you say it, foster hunger inside prospects. Then give them a way to act on it. Here's how to do it in three simple steps.
The Argument for a Better Way
Nothing says "ordinary" like the approach most of us are taking to LinkedIn profiles and groups. Hey, I've been there. I know what does not work: posting my latest blog article in groups and putting all kinds of bells and whistles on my profile.
Yet "LinkedIn experts" (most of whom never held a sales job!) say putting videos and multimedia is the key to success. No, it's not.
Videos, multimedia and words that grab attention, hold it and give prospects a reason to become a lead is one of a handful of keys to success.
Generating leads is not about video, Powerpoint decks or links to your blog. Your success relies on how (or if!) you structure these tools to create response-leads!
Step 1: Attract Prospects by Provoking Responses
Here's where to start. The idea is to start LinkedIn group discussions (or answer questions inside existing discussions) in ways that provoke questions and create opportunities to generate leads. The same strategy can be applied on your profile page.
LinkedIn is filled with people just like you. They have problems to solve or goals to reach. They're ambitious. They're hungry.
They need your help.
Your potential customers are craving better ways to:
- avoid risks
- compete better or create market distinction
- make faster, smarter decisions
Start by kicking off a magnetic LinkedIn group discussion that gives them what they want. Use this practical formula:
- Focus on a nagging pain prospects are suffering from,
- quickly suggest a specific, genuinely new/unheard of remedy and ...
- ask for group members to give feedback on it.
Use your discussion title and first sentence of the description to appeal to the emotional frustration of prospects. Then say, "I know how to solve this problem" (and make that pain go away). Appeal to the emotional end result prospects are longing for.
For example, in the Linked Strategies group I asked, "Why isn't LinkedIn generating LEADS for me?" in my title. My description presented a dramatic take on the issue, suggested a compelling solution to the problem and invited others to comment on it.
When writing the description of your discussion you're trying to encourage prospects think, "That sounds important for me to understand. I wonder what, exactly, he/she means by that?"
Present your remedy in a way that encourages readers to ask for more details. Leave out most of the important details. You'll get to them in Step No. 2.
Step 2: Getting Prospects Hungry for Your Answers
Remember the last time you needed something fixed urgently? You were impatient. LinkedIn users are the same. So get right to the point when starting a LinkedIn group discussion.
Don't make readers wait for the solution you promised.
However, when it comes to ALL the juicy details of your remedy take it slow. How slow?
Slow enough to encourage more questions. Be specific. Be action-oriented. But avoid being so complete that readers become totally satisfied with your words.
The idea is to satisfy the curiosity of group members for the moment.
The success of your LinkedIn leads strategy hinges on holding the attention you worked so hard to get. But you have another goal: Creating hunger for an increasing number of "the details."
As the discussion unfolds, keep revealing more-and-more tips and advice ... BUT do it in ways that:
- prospects can act on yet also ...
- leads them to ask more-and-more questions of you ... and ...
- creates hunger for a BIG SHORT-CUT to what they want.
That short-cut will be a free video tutorial, whitepaper, checklist or e-book that you will trade in exchange for contact information. I call these "knowledge nuggets."
This is where you get a business lead!
Step 3: Make Calls to Action That Give Prospects Choice
The final step of your new LinkedIn leads strategy involves making simple calls to action. This gives everyone a place to put all that pent up hunger for your "knowledge nugget."
Here's how: As you continue to reveal more-and-more there will be a point where it feels natural to offer prospects a short-cut. Think of it as giving them access to a bunch of the answers they're craving in one fell swoop.
This is where you link to an elegant, focused opt-in lead form page on your website. I recommend doing this once and absolutely no more than twice within a given discussion.
WARNING: Don't be crass, but do be direct. You've worked hard to get here. All that is needed is a clear, text-based call to action that is:
- casual in tone (are not pushy) and suggestive ("this might help you if you are serious about _____")
- in context with how the discussion is flowing
- promises free, step-by-step instructions, a way to learn a new skill, avoid a risk, make a decision etc.
Here's a trick I find to be VERY effective: Tell them that the decision is theirs.
Present the call-to-action confidently. Let prospects know you're doing this because it will help them ... BUT ... be sure to reaffirm your prospects' freedom to choose. Doing this indirectly says to them: "I am not threatening your right to say no. You have free choice."
Want exceptional lead generation results from LinkedIn? Stop practicing ordinary tactics and dallying over how much time to invest in a LinkedIn sales strategy. Most sales people experience ordinary results on LinkedIn because they don't know about an exceptional approach. This one. Let me know how it works for you in comments!
Jeff Molander is the authority on making social media sell. He co-founded the Google Affiliate Network in 1999, and has been selling for 18 years. Jeff is adjunct digital marketing faculty at Loyola University’s business school, a social sales trainer and author of the first social selling book, Off the Hook Marketing: How to Make Social Media Sell for You. Most social selling trainers teach the value of engaging customers and providing relevant content. Then they demonstrate the technology. But no one tells you exactly how to produce leads and sales—using a proven, systematic approach to content. Until now.