This is Part 5 in a 5-part series describing an effective LinkedIn strategy for selling high value products and services.
PART 5: LINKEDIN ENGAGEMENT ACTIONS
In order for this high-value LinkedIn sales strategy to work, you must engage with people on a regular basis. This means inviting relevant people and liking, commenting and sharing content that’s relevant to your business.
NOTE: Using social engagement actions on LinkedIn is part of a comprehensive sales strategy that can be highly effective if followed consistently. The Daily Sales Checklist below will keep you on track and drive significantly better results for your sales efforts on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn “People You May Know”
NOTE: In early 2017 LinkedIn relocated “People You May Know” to https://www.linkedin.com/mynetwork/.
There’s an important section on LinkedIn called “People You May Know”. This suggests potentially relevant people with whom to connect. The great thing about this section is you can send connection requests without filling in the form that normally pops up when you click “Connect” on someone’s profile.
As part of a good LinkedIn strategy you want to visit this area once or twice a week, scan it and connect with 10-20 ideal target customers, headhunters and LIONS (LinkedIn Open Networkers) you find.
NOTE: It’s very important to be selective and connect only with people that are relevant to you. Just going down the page and randomly clicking “Connect” a hundred times a day will get your account suspended. It will also fill your network with irrelevant people. It’s bad form so don’t do it.
You can go directly to People You May Know at https://www.linkedin.com/mynetwork/. The URL on the upper right of the image above redirects to the new page.
You can connect using one of two techniques:
- Click the “Connect” button to send a generic connection invite, or
- Click the person’s photo which allows you to personalize your invite (using the same connection form as the “Connect” button on that person’s profile).
This LinkedIn strategy process will increase your targeted connections. Once people become part of your first-degree network, you can message them all you want.
How to Message Sales Prospects on LinkedIn
Next, you want to regularly send out short messages to your new LinkedIn contacts. You have a choice here:
- You can message them immediately
- You can wait a few days or a week and message them after a “cooling off” period
We advise doing the latter unless you are in a very high volume sales business. When selling high-value (typically low volume) products or services, you should treat your LinkedIn relationships like gold. You want to court them slowly and give them the white glove treatment. Sales cycles tend to be long anyway, so a few days or weeks won’t matter. We advise being very “light touch” and reaching out after some time has elapsed. If you follow this LinkedIn strategy you shouldn’t have prospect flow issues so don’t feel pressed to hurry things up.
Here is an efficient 3-step way to message a lot of people if you do take the more aggressive path:
So what types of messages work for our LinkedIn strategy?
Personalize it like this: “Hi Dan, I see you went to Columbia Business School. I was there in ’91…” or “Hi Maria, I see you volunteer for the Humane Society. That’s really admirable…”
Keep it short and sweet. For each paragraph you add, your chances of a response drop by 50%. A 2-4 sentence message works best.
Break up your message with white space between sentences so it’s easy to read on a mobile.
It’s best to invite the prospect to have a conversation about getting benefits you can provide. Leave out the nitty-gritty details of your product or service, external links, white papers, etc. You’re just trying to get a phone call or message conversation going. Remember, micro-steps here…
Here are some LinkedIn message options to test (you should definitely test response rates):
- The Direct Sale (“I sell X, are you interested in a quick 5 minute chat?”)
- The Brainstorm (“I specializing in helping clients do ABC, are you interested in a brainstorm to see if I can help you uncover any opportunity in your business?”)
- The Reference (“Hi, you and I are connected to Thomas. He mentioned you…” Be truthful or you will get caught!)
- The Get to Know My Network (“I like to speak with everybody in my network…”)
- The Here’s Something Helpful for You (link to a good blog post, webinar invitation, free how-to guide, white paper download, survey, etc. This can be spammy, so make sure it is acceptable behavior in your market before doing it.)
If there is no response for a few days you can send a reminder message. A one-liner is fine — you’re just looking for a yes or no. Follow-ups are good every few weeks, just don’t hound people.
Like, Comment and Share Posts and Updates on LinkedIn
Liking, commenting and sharing Posts and Updates are a necessary part of this LinkedIn strategy and something you should to on a daily basis. Try for 5-10 interactions per day. This keeps you “front of mind” in your network and attracts new relevant connections.
NOTE: The headline on the Post above on the right is a good reminder of how you should act on LinkedIn at all times.
Be selective with the topics you choose to engage on. Almost everything you do on LinkedIn shows up in your Updates stream. Skip the political conversations (unless you’re a politician, lobbyist or otherwise in the business of politics) and stick to direct business topics. Use this as an opportunity to increase your credibility, not destroy it!
Endorse People for Skills in Your First-Degree LinkedIn Network
Endorsements are an important part of an effective LinkedIn strategy. You can endorse your connections’ skills right after you connect. You can also respond to LinkedIn’s endorsement suggestions. We suggest being selective about whom you endorse and for what skills (you should endorse only those skills you know they’re adept at).
Endorsing re-engages with people with whom you haven’t interacted for awhile. When you endorse somebody, 50% of the time they will visit your profile and be reminded of the value you offer. It might just be the exact time they need your product or service!