Some people find it very easy to start sales conversations, at network meetings, at exhibitions, over the phone, or other situations.
And at any gathering it’s possible to observe or be on the receiving end of a very positive and purposeful sales conversation, without feeling upset.
On LinkedIn it’s possible to experience the full spectrum of different ways that people attempt to start sales conversations, from the very slick and professional to the crass and offensive.
Assuming that you have a business development or sales responsibility since you’re reading this, the following suggestions should help you develop a style that works for you through LinkedIn.
And in order to get a return from your efforts on LinkedIn it’s pretty important to have a go and develop your skills at starting sales conversations.
This is the Fourth Pillar of the LinkedIn Foundations, after Personal Profile, Contact Network and Sharing Content.
Leading To rather than Leading With
This is a critical starting point. The unsubtle way to start sales conversations is to outline products and services in our profiles and pages, to send LinkedIn messages to all and sundry listing what we do and how good we are, and even to spread those promotional messages into LinkedIn discussion groups and comments on people’s posts.
You may have seen this in practice, or been on the receiving end of LinkedIn Messages and emails like this.
The subtle way is to build some rapport, offer value, see if some help might be appreciated, and gently move people who are interested towards the solution, service or product you offer. This does take more time, and more contact, but the results are more productive.
There’s a whole movement around “Always be serving”, the value of content, helping buyers to buy, inviting people to take the next step and so on.
Now is not the place to be prescriptive about the message, but let’s look at some of the main opportunity points available.
10 opportunities to start sales conversations in LinkedIn
1. When someone invites you to connect
Send them an email message by return, asking them why they invited you and if they have any questions in your area of expertise you might be able to help with.
2. When someone (relevant) looks at your LinkedIn Profile
Have a look at their profile and send them a personalised invitation to connect
3. If someone shares some news that could be a buying trigger
You probably know the upstream activities that lead to a need for what you offer. For me it’s things like people/companies going to an exhibition, trade show or conference, rebranding, redeveloping their website, planning a lead generation campaign, becoming an independent consultant and similar.
4. If someone (relevant) comments or likes one of your status updates
If you share relevant tips then you can spot potential clients in those who comment.
5. If someone (relevant) comments on an article you wrote.
Write articles deliberately on topics that will attract and educate prospects about the category of business need/opportunity you overcome/enable.
6. If you comment on a Status Update by a target prospect and they comment in reply.
Develop a list of target prospects and periodically view the status updates and articles they create – and comment appropriately
7. When LinkedIn notified you of job changes / new positions posted by people in your network
Make contact to congratulate them on the new role, and maybe find out who replaced them at the old role.
8. When people share their good news, such as winning an award, signing a new client etc.
Congratulations is always a good starting point for a conversation to see if it has created needs you can help with
9. Company Page Status Updates by your target prospects/suspects could provide a trigger to find a relevant contact to approach
Periodically view the LinkedIn Company Pages of your target prospects to detect opportunities to reach out
10. If you identify a person you’d like to make contact with and the best route is to ask for an introduction from a mutual contact.
Asking for a specific introduction, by someone you know (well) to someone you don’t yet know, is a good way to start a sales related conversation.
Once you’ve tried each of these techniques to start sales conversations you’ll be in a better place to evaluate which works best for you.
Monitor your activity and progress with the LinkedIn Social Selling Index tool
If you’ve read, applied and put into practice the tips in each of the 4 LinkedIn Foundations areas you should feel that you are making progress.
Activity in this area is part of the LinkedIn Social Selling Index calculation, if you want to monitor your progress.
If you’ve any questions, or want to review progress and gain guidance to fine tune your approach please book a review call below.
Hopefully you should be seeing some positive results by now, as your profile, network, content and conversation areas all develop.
Now take your LinkedIn Lead Generation to the next level
What is your approach to prospecting and finding new customers? How do you start sales conversations at the moment?
If something is working for you outside of LinkedIn then there’s a good chance something similar will work within LinkedIn.
And if you’re struggling to find something that does work then the following might just provide inspiration and clarity for your next move.
This is a good time to step through to the other LinkedIn Lead Generation Strategies we’ve developed.