With over 135 million users, mostly from the business community, it makes sense that anyone who markets products or services for businesses would want to know how to maximize LinkedIn for sales.
If that doesn’t have you convinced, earlier this year, HubSpot.com released statistics showing that using LinkedIn for sales is 277% more likely to generate leads than Facebook or Twitter for both business to business (B2B) and business to consumer (B2C) sales.
Here’s how to maximize the power of LinkedIn for sales in your company:
#1 – Complete and Optimize Your Profile
Create Your Profile
It seems painfully obvious and not worth mentioning. But there are so many people who miss this step! Complete your profile. Include a picture. Nothing tells prospective clients or employers that you don’t care like having a half-finished profile.
Care enough about your own success to finish your profile.
Take the time to finish your profile. Include your current and prior occupations and occupation. Add information until your profile is listed as 100% complete.
Optimize Your Profile
Once you’ve finished your profile, it’s time to optimize it to get noticed! Research keywords in your niche. For example, if you’re in risk management or safety, include those words. If you’ve been an executive chef, cook up a description that includes that phrase. Be concise but be creative! You want to stand out!
If you have clients with good things to say about your product or services, ask for recommendations on LinkedIn. For sales and service businesses, nothing inspires confidence like a good reference from a satisfied customer.
#2 – Network Using Groups
A great use of LinkedIn for sales professionals is to network by searching based on keyword – like the keywords you used in optimizing your profile! Search keywords, join groups and connect with others in your field. Once you get used to the way groups work, start your own groups and gain credibility as an expert in your niche!
#3 – Join the Conversation
Some people wouldn’t consider using LinkedIn for sales, seeing it primarily as a place to park a resume and wait passively for “something” to happen. To maximize the value of this social network, you need to jump in! Seek ways to contribute value to your connections just like you would on any other social network. Just like in any other network, creating value for others usually results in better results for you.
LinkedIn Answers [UPDATE: LinkedIn Answers was discontinued by LinkedIn on January 31, 2013]
LinkedIn Answers, located under the “More” menu, features questions asked by members of the LinkedIn community. Browse to find questions in your area of expertise. If you have an answer, share it! If you know someone in your network who has the answer, help make the connection for the questioner. Either way, by providing valuable information, you’ll build your credibility and earn “expertise” in your subject area. Experts are featured on the Answers page and in each category of questions.
When using these or any other tips on LinkedIn for sales growth, remember: Quality of engagement is key. Be yourself, be authentic, and provide value. Do these things and sales will follow.
So, how do you use LinkedIn to network in your industry? What strategies are you currently implementing?