Lots of sellers don't realize just what a big impact LinkedIn can have on their personal credibility. In our 2013 Sales & LinkedIn Study, we found that top sellers are doing far more than other salespeople to leverage LinkedIn to help them develop trust and credibility with their prospects and customers.
Top sellers willingly and often share links to articles, webinars, case studies, analyst reports and eBooks. Sometimes they relate their personal experiences and knowledge about topics related to their industry, customers, business process, trends and challenges.
Here are some examples of how real-live LinkedIn users are doing just that -- and the results they're getting from this LinkedIn strategy.
- Relevant Content. "LinkedIn is a great place to put industry relevant content that improves our credibility as a business and helps us stand out from other training companies. More than a website, LinkedIn can get you to the key decision makers. An important piece of advice is that you need to keep in contact with those in your network rather than it be just a collection of contacts. Otherwise, it is just like old business cards bound up with an elastic band." ~ Tim R.
- Pre & Post-Events. "We post content on LinkedIn about upcoming events we are running. The team 'likes' them, and this generates significant follow up for their connections. We also create 'alumni' groups for people who’ve attended the events, and then post relevant content in those groups. This has been a good way of getting referrals for us, as group members have invited their friends and colleagues." ~ David K.
- Status Updates . I update my status line at least 3 times per week with relevant content my clients and potential clients can use to help their business. It keeps me top of mind and solidifies my standing as a valuable expert to them. Recently Steve, one of my long-lost connections, saw an article I’d shared and called me to talk it. He then mentioned his new role as a SVP at a large company that needed the services I provided. Knowing a little status update could keep me top of mind is all the encouragement I need to keep sharing valuable content with my connections." ~ Phil G.
- Trusted Advisor Focus. "LinkedIn is not just about connecting with folks for the sake of trying to develop business opportunities ("sales"). My intent is truly that of being an advocate - a trusted of advisor - and to increase my credibility for providing solutions. To be successful, you have to really look at the view from the customer’s side and get out of that "What’s in it for me" mentality. LinkedIn is a tool that can help you personally develop a "brand" and show how you can positively impact a business and/or client and make them look better." ~ Brent J.
- Webinars. "We publicize our webinars on LinkedIn. We do a number of them each month and use LinkedIn (plus other vehicles) to promote them. I would estimate that 10% of our attendees and registrants come from LinkedIn postings. Quite often these are also companies in our target space that we didn’t even know about. So now we have them for other items of interest for them as well." ~ Michael G.
- Presentations. "I was surprised at the response I received when I loaded a company demo PowerPoint to my LinkedIn profile and asked people to contact me for a 5 minute demo via the presentation." ~ David F.
- Linkedin Posts. "Linkedin increases the efficiency of marketing our services. Recently, I took a phone call from the managing director of a German company who said she wants us to train her sales force. I asked "Why?” and she said that she first read many of my posts on LinkedIn, then downloaded our book and read many of our blog articles as well. She was ready to do business with us. We discussed the details of our training, including our limitations, and she agreed to a comprehensive program." ~ Jacques Worth
- Content Market Strategy. "LinkedIn is a key component of my content marketing strategy to the specific market segments that I focus on. It reinforces my branding, pr, thought-leadership, trust, and my industry expertise. I leverage groups I moderate, tag groups I communicate with, and follow up using the profile organizer for prospects and clients. Best metric for me is that I am growing my connections, referrals, and leads through LinkedIn and continually hear "It seems like you're everywhere on LinkedIn!" ~ Barry D.
Not bad. People respond to these initiatives. And, they view you in a different light. You're not just another seller trying to get their attention. You're a valid player in the marketplace ... someone who is willingly sharing information to help them out.
Seems to me that it's a lot better way to start a relationship than cold calling!