While selling for a growing technology company, Jill Rowley embraced "social selling" via LinkedIn, Twitter and more with a vengeance! Check out her LinkedIn strategies below to see why she is consistently a top salesperson.
Here's a little food for thought first. In our 2013 Sales/LinkedIn research, we found that top sellers share relevant content much more that their counterparts.
If you break these numbers down further, 20.3% of top sellers ALWAYS shared content versus only 6.4% of everyone else. (Get Cracking the LinkedIn Sales Code now to discover what else top sellers are doing. The research may surprise you!)
To me, selling is all about relationships, building trust and establishing rapport. That’s why and how I use LinkedIn. And it all starts with your profile. It has to be created with your buyer in mind. Most salespeople don’t realize that.
My headline showcases that I’m a team player and major contributor. I have eleven recommendations. On my profile, I post presentations that are relevant to my buyers, such as case studies and analyst reports. I link to our company blog so that everyone can see our thought leadership content.
I see myself as an information concierge. I constantly look for good information that my prospects and customers would want to read – and share it with them via updates and Tweeting.
In my sales, I’m very targeted and strategic. LinkedIn helps me find the right people at the right companies. Using the advanced search function, I’ll enter in the company name, marketing titles, then keywords like automation, operations, and web. I use what I call a “surround strategy” – meaning I want to identify a number of folks in the organization that would be involved in our decision. I never want to be “single threaded” and just have one contact.
And, I surround my prospects on multiple channels too. I invite them to connect on LinkedIn. I follow them on Twitter. I retweet their tweets. I add them to my Google+ circle. I check them out on SlideShare. I want to know them intimately.
I’m always thinking, “How can I leverage my network too?” I’ll even check out the University of Virginia Alumni group on LinkedIn to see if I can find a person who can help me connect with a targeted decision maker. It’s been extremely effective.
When I reach out to people, I say something personal right away so I can create an immediate connection. I study people’s profiles carefully to find out what’s important to them professionally and personally. After doing that, I send them a message via LinkedIn with a connection request.
Each message is personally crafted to show I’ve done my homework. For example, I might start: “Wahoowa (our school battle cry)! Please allow me to use our UVA connection to e-meet you. I received a BS in Commerce in 1994.” Then, I’ll go on to mention:
- Something about their profile/accomplishments I found interesting or relevant.
- Names of mutual acquaintances or interests.
- What my company does – but focus on the issues or business goals we help companies with. (It’s never, ever a product pitch.)
- Several other companies we’ve worked with so they know we’re a credible resource.
Finally, I’ll close by asking if we can connect briefly to explore if our company is a good fit for their needs.
This approach has been highly effective in starting conversations. It gets me in the door, positioned as a valuable resource. But it’s not for salespeople who are looking for shortcuts and quick sales. It takes time to do the research and create personal messages. And, I want to be seen as a trusted advisor and expert in my area.
It’s a long-term strategy that's led to lots of business already, so I know it pays off big-time. I’ve been a top rep for many years now. And, in 2011, I was even named the Employee of the Year.