Perhaps you have heard many success stories about people using social selling on LinkedIn to generate new leads and sales.
The social selling results some people are attaining on LinkedIn are indeed business and life changing.
I am sure, you could benefit from the additional sales and revenue right now too.
You might be wondering, can just anybody hop on LinkedIn and use social selling successfully?
The unfortunate truth is many LinkedIn users aren’t ready to make social selling work for them… yet. You may be one of them. Any number of habits, beliefs or practices might be holding you back from succeeding at social selling on LinkedIn.
But, with the right mindset and training, you too could be one of the many LinkedIn social selling success stories.
Here are five key signs you are not ready (yet) to use social selling on LinkedIn and how to change that.
5 Reasons You Are Not Ready for Social Selling on LinkedIn
1. You require instant gratification
We live in a world of instant gratification. It’s been made possible by our smart devices.
If you want to know something, you can look it up on your device. If you want to talk to a friend, you can call or text them from your device. If you want to buy something, you can buy it online from your device. If you are hungry, you can use your device to order your favorite food to be delivered right to you.
You don’t even have to wait a week for the release of the next episode of your favorite show. You can binge-watch the whole series at your convenience on streaming TV services.
Literally, the need for patience and waiting is largely a thing of the past.
Or is it?
There is still one place in our lives where instant gratification cannot be had.
It’s relationship building.
Successful selling is a by-product of good relationship building.
Perhaps you have heard the old saying:
“People buy from people they know, like and trust.”
This is just as true today as it was 100 years ago… possibly more so in this digital age.
Building relationships and earning trust takes time and consistent effort. It is a process.
It’s not instantaneous, and you can’t rush it.
If you require instant gratification, you are not ready yet for the time and commitment required to be successful at social selling.
But what does a desire for instant gratification look like on LinkedIn?
- Have you ever connected with someone on LinkedIn only to receive a sales pitch or other type of spam from them less than 24 hours later?
- Have you received multiple messages from a LinkedIn connection that doesn’t even bother to wait for your response?
- Have you received messages that look automated and are not even remotely relevant to your situation?
- Have you ever had a connection leave unrelated comments on your posts to promote themselves or their business?
These are all common signs of someone who requires instant gratification.
What can you do if you can relate to one or more of these behaviors?
- Get to know your prospect by reading their personal profile.
- Ensure every message you send to a connection is appropriate and relevant and provides value to them.
- Do NOT send your connections anything sales related.
- Relationship building happens through conversation. Look for ways to begin discussions in messages or post comments.
- Focus on your post quality rather than quantity. Your connections will ignore any number of spammy or low-quality posts but are more likely to read and engage with a single relevant, valuable post.
2. Your LinkedIn profile looks like a ghost town
If the key to being successful with social selling on LinkedIn is relationship building, how successful will you be if you have no LinkedIn presence?
An empty or incomplete profile doesn’t inspire trust or credibility. It also doesn’t help potential prospects to know or like you.
Social selling doesn’t work with an incomplete profile.
But it also doesn’t work if your nicely filled-out LinkedIn profile is all about you.
Having a LinkedIn profile that is all about you is just as ineffective as having an incomplete profile.
Your LinkedIn profile is an essential part of your personal brand. Having a great one is a MUST if you plan to do any form of social selling or lead generation on LinkedIn. Your profile should:
- intrigue people, prompting them to want to learn more about you
- impress the people you send connection requests to so they accept your requests
- make you easily findable when someone searches for what you do
What can you do to ensure you have a professional-looking, complete and client-focused LinkedIn profile?
- Use a professional headshot for your profile image. You have only seconds to make a positive first impression. Make sure it’s a good one.
- In your LinkedIn headline, create a compelling statement to capture potential prospects’ attention and intrigue them enough so they click on your profile to learn more about you.
- In your About section, tell your readers the important facts about yourself. First, tell them who you are and why you do what you do. Next, identify your ideal clients, and explain how you can help them solve their current problem. Finish with a call to action, telling your viewers the best way to contact you.
- Showcase your expertise by adding one or two pieces of content in the featured section.
- Obtain at least three recommendations from people who can vouch for you and your work.
3. Having conversations with people is hard for you
Conversation is a key element to building relationships.
If you connect with people on LinkedIn and never interact with them again, social selling won’t work for you.
It also won’t work if you are not interested in having offline conversations. It is offline that you really get to know your prospect, understand their challenges and, when appropriate, offer your solution.
It’s offline that you convert a prospect to a client.
But before you can move a conversation offline, you need to establish rapport by building trust and providing value to your prospects so that you can earn the right to ask them for an offline conversation.
If you do this, many of your prospects will be willing to have an offline conversation with you – be it through a phone call, video call or an in-person meeting.
How do you build rapport and relationships through conversations on LinkedIn?
- After you connect with your prospect, thank them for connecting. Next, comment on something you’ve learned about them from their LinkedIn profile or ask them a question.
- The relationship-building process requires more than one or two messages. It is vital to send additional messages to get the dialogue going and find ways to provide value to your prospects.
- Do NOT make the mistake of trying to sell or pitch your product or service in a LinkedIn message. Doing so is the fastest way to kill a potential relationship.
- Look for appropriate and relevant ways to add value to your new connections by providing them with a resource they would find valuable or interesting. It must relate specifically to their business or industry and either offer them new insights or help them overcome a challenge.
- Learn what language your ideal clients use to communicate their needs or challenges, and use this language in your messages and when writing your posts to make sure your content resonates with your audience. Show them you truly understand them and their challenges.
4. You have no sales or business development goals for LinkedIn
It is great you are using LinkedIn, but what is your purpose for it?
What do you want to achieve with the time and effort you invest on LinkedIn?
If you haven’t figured out what goals you want to accomplish with your activities and if you don’t know how to measure your success at achieving those goals, how will you know whether or not your efforts are worthwhile?
If you use LinkedIn without setting goals and defining metrics to measure your success, social selling definitely won’t work for you.
How do you determine your social selling goals and their success metrics?
- Begin with your company’s goals. Specifically, identify the goals that can be achieved using lead generation on LinkedIn.
- If you don’t have a business plan, think of general goals that would be important to your company, such as increasing sales and revenue, maintaining and improving relationships with existing buyers or becoming an influencer by establishing yourself as an authority on your topic.
- Once you have identified your goals, determine what metrics or key performance indicators (KPIs) you will track and measure.
- Once you determine what you are measuring, you need to decide how you will measure that metric, how often you will measure it and how you will adjust your approach when needed.
5. You don’t have the time to be consistent
While your time is valuable and limited, you will need to invest it regularly on LinkedIn to produce results.
You will not have success with social selling on LinkedIn if you use the platform sporadically.
Trust and credibility are by-products of consistency.
Just like when building relationships face to face, you need to show up and engage with others consistently to build relationships and establish trust.
Regularity of your activities, whether it’s when responding to messages or engaging in other ways with your prospects, or when posting valuable content in status updates, is critical here.
And while you don’t want to bombard your connections with an annoying number of status updates every day, you do need to consistently post valuable to your prospects content.
If you don’t invest time consistently in LinkedIn, the best-case scenario is wasted time.
In the worst-case scenario, you can hurt relationships and damage your credibility.
What does consistent interaction look like on LinkedIn?
- Reply to any new messages, and/or engage with other members every day or at least within a couple of business days of their posting or contact.
- Aim to post a status update weekly so your connections see you consistently in their newsfeeds or notifications.
- Create status updates for the month ahead so that you spend only a few minutes on LinkedIn every day for the rest of the month. All you have to do then is respond to messages, engage with others’ content and share the preprepared status updates.
- Have a list of places where you can quickly and easily find material to share fresh, relevant and interesting content in your status updates.
Make social selling on LinkedIn work for you
When used with purpose and planning, social selling on LinkedIn can be an incredibly effective way to generate more leads and sales for your business.
While it is no magic bullet, when you understand your goals for LinkedIn and invest consistent time and effort to provide value to your connections, you will begin building relationships, credibility and trust with them.
This helps your prospects to know, like and trust you, which makes you the natural choice when they look for someone who does what you do.
Are you having success with social selling on LinkedIn? If not, I have an incredible free resource you’ll want to take advantage of. Attend my new online masterclass The Ultimate LinkedIn Lead Generation System, where you’ll learn a predictable way to generate more leads and clients in under 30 minutes a day. Register here.