Let’s Get Social: Why Building a Social Selling Strategy Is Key
By Phil Hobden
Social selling has become a crucial aspect of sales in today's business environment, and LinkedIn is the perfect platform to leverage this practice. As a leader who has leveraged LinkedIn to build relationships, grow businesses and uncover new opportunities I often (and passionately) sing the praises of the importance of using social media to my team – from connecting with prospects to positioning themselves as ‘thought leaders’ in what they do. In this article, I will share my perspective on social selling on LinkedIn and provide valuable insights and strategies for sales professionals looking to boost their performance.
First and foremost (and to define it better) – social selling is a strategic approach to sales that involves using social media to build and maintain relationships with prospects. It's about engaging with potential customers on a personal level, rather than relying on cold calls and emails. Social selling enables you to create valuable content, share industry insights, and establish your expertise, which helps build trust and credibility with prospects. In short, become a trusted advisor to your customers and a thought leader in your industry.
For me, one of the best places to do this is LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the largest professional networking platform with over 700 million users globally. It’s also a powerful tool for sales professionals, allowing you to connect with prospects directly (at all levels) and a way to uncover valuable information about them. You can even take this a step further with LinkedIn Sales Navigator where you can get real-time updates on their activities and business. Powerful indeed!
WHERE TO START?
Well, to leverage LinkedIn for social selling, it’s essential to optimize your profile. Your profile is your digital business card, and it's the first thing prospects will see when they look you up on LinkedIn. Make sure your profile is complete and up-to-date, with a professional headshot, a compelling headline, and a summary that highlights your skills and expertise. Also adding work examples, external volunteering and recommendations help deepen your profile and stand out in a crowded market! If you have content you’ve worked on, podcasts you’ve guested on or articles you’ve had published, even better!
But it’s not just about you... finding the right prospects is also critical to true social selling success. Thankfully LinkedIn makes this easy, including a pretty robust search function to find prospects who fit your ideal customer profile, and then allowing you to look at their profiles to get a better understanding of their potential needs and interests.
But let’s not just be a lurker; the real power of LinkedIn is the ability to engage with your prospects by commenting on their posts, sharing their content, and sending them personalised messages. The key is to be helpful and provide value to your prospects, not just to drop a message saying “Hey, want to buy my product you know nothing about?” They are already getting hundreds of those a month!
Sharing valuable content is another important aspect of true social selling. Whether you are a sales leader, an experienced salesperson or just an expert in your field, you have valuable industry insights and best practices to share with your network and in turn, this will establish trust with your prospects. Taking this further, you could look to join LinkedIn groups that are relevant to your industry, participate in discussions and add real value to the industry as a whole to drive even more connections with like-minded professionals.
So, for me, social selling on LinkedIn is one of THE most powerful ways to connect with your prospects, build relationships with them and fast track your sales results. And it’s not just theory… I've had considerable success over the years leveraging LinkedIn and social media to generate new business, deepen relationships and grow both my own personal and my businesses presence in the market. For me social selling (be it on LinkedIn or anywhere else) is an essential part of any modern-day sales strategy.
By optimizing your profile, finding the right prospects, engaging with them, sharing valuable content, and using tools like LinkedIn Sales Navigator, you and your team can AND SHOULD be leveraging powerful platforms like this to grow your revenue.
About the author
Phil Hobden is a Sales Leader, public speaker & podcast host with over 20 years of sales leadership experience who now works for a leading global technology business leading digital change across the accounting industry.
The views and opinions in this article are the author’s and may not reflect those of the business they work for.
Find out more about Phil Hobden on LinkedIn.