LinkedIn is a fantastic place for picking up potential sales. It is the one social media platform where you can not only share content to help each other, but also express your own opinions. You can also demonstrate your knowledge and experience without feeling like you are showing off because it is a critical aspect of the profile.
Yet I’ve noticed in the past few months that there has been an increase in the number of people, namely salespeople, who are abusing the system and trying to use direct marketing tactics in an inbound marketing environment.
That isn’t to say that they shouldn’t use LinkedIn as a sales platform. As I've said it is a good platform for that. But there is a right and a wrong way to achieve the same aim.
Don’t Connect Just For Sales
The first thing I’ve noticed is that people connect just to sell their products. They don’t even check who they are selling to as they are looking at the job title rather than the job description.
The number of times that I’ve been offered job adverts on popular job boards (TwoFeetJobs) and internet marketing support (TwoFeetMarketing) or help with publishing my ebook (TwoFeetPublishing) is astonishing.
You can’t just indiscriminately connect and sell to your audience. It’s about as effective as getting out the phone book and calling customers.
Also, why would the LinkedIn contact want to buy from you instead of hundreds of other suppliers on the network? LinkedIn is about building trust by delivering hard-hitting, thoughtful comments, industry news and expert advice. If you can’t do that, you aren’t differentiating yourself from the crowd – you’re just looking unprofessional.
By all means, connect with people on LinkedIn but don’t do it just for the first sale.
People Don’t Look At Who They Are Connecting With
The internet is a massive database of information and LinkedIn is no different. To a marketer and salesperson, it should look like an Aladdin’s cave. Yet for many, it isn’t anything more than an escape from the telephone calls.
I’ve mentioned previously that I am regularly contacted by companies offering the same services that TwoFeetMarketing offers! Does that signal to me that you’ve taken the time to look at my profile? To know who I am?
Use the data LinkedIn provides you and tailor your approach. Also, get to know the person on LinkedIn. During their conversations with others and in their content, they might reveal more than you realise about what they really need and then you can tailor your prospecting post to those needs.
If you can’t sell to them, because they offer too similar products – you’ve got an opportunity for your business to spy on the competition. Notice what they are good at and where they need to improve.
They Are Dishonest
This is something that annoys me on LinkedIn and email, so I will cover both here. Don’t lie to prospects. I have numerous attempts by salespeople to tell me they’ve spoken to my boss/colleague or significant other in the business about a project they were going to implement and they just needed to speak to me about certain aspects of it.
Firstly, everything goes through me. Secondly, everyone at TwoFeetMarketing talks about third party services, so we all know what is going on.
If you introduce yourself with this line, you are immediately breaking the trust you could build with a prospect and at best you might have a short-term relationship. People don’t like being lied to, so don’t use a lie in your introduction.
Use LinkedIn The Right Way
LinkedIn is a treasure trove for growing your business online if used right. The challenge is using the vast amounts of data correctly and not being driven to using underhanded or poor tactics that reflect poorly on your professionalism and expertise.
Do you use LinkedIn to help grow your business? What tactics do you find useful?
Let us know in the comments below.