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5 Tips for using LinkedIn – how to find and sell to anyone

Carlos Gil (Author of the End of Marketing: Humanizing Your Brand in the Age of AI), explains how to sell effectively on LinkedIn without irritating one’s connections.

He says that LinkedIn, with its database of over 600 million professional users worldwide, is an essential social network for sales professionals and entrepreneurs. Due to its immense size, most of your prospects are simply a click away rather than having to make cold calls or meet the right contacts at industry events. He advises that it is still important however to know the right way to make connections with relevant contacts which would ultimately lead to more sales.

Here are five tips that Gil suggests to grow your business using LinkedIn:

1. Using LinkedIn’s search functionality

By using Linkedin’s powerful search function you’ll be able to find contacts by typing in key terms.

For example: If you need to find a person in a company, first type the company name. Then narrow the search by location or job function. Specificity is important. It helps you avoid heading straight to the C-Suite level (the names of those you could find on a company website) and rather to the mid-to-senior level professionals who would be more likely to use your product or service directly. They might also be much more receptive to making new connections than executives would be.  

2. Joining relevant groups

There are thousands of groups on LinkedIn based on industry and location that you could join and hop between to help you grow your local and industry presence. It will be helpful to search for your city, relevant groups and terms related to your sector.

Within these groups content can be posted that would help provide insights for discussions and that would demonstrate your expertise. Groups are meant to be for people to be social and communicative rather than salesy. They’re not for reading ads.

One of the key reasons to join groups however is to have direct access to InMail or connection requests with anyone in the group. This will help you to leverage and ultimately have more sales.

3. Finding content related to the target company

Those who are on LinkedIn are there to be social, but wish to interact professionally regarding work. It is important that when making connections or requests that you also shouldn’t be overly salesy.

A helpful tip is to rather prospect about what is happening at another company by setting up a Google Alert so that you receive an email whenever that company gets mentioned in the news, an article or press release. Then reach out to them on LinkedIn to congratulate or acknowledge them. Thereafter, a dialogue can be started about what the article said and a request can be made to connect more to talk about how their business is doing. This tends to be much more effective than a direct sales pitch.

4. Making sales personable

If you’re going to be social on LinkedIn, you’ll also need to make sales personable. Therefore, instead of sending InMail about a product you’d like to show them it would be better to find out more about the person you’re trying to sell to. Look at their profile, read their posts and try understanding what they care about.

Then find out if they’re posting about a conference they might be attending and schedule a time to meet up there. It’s good to find a way to get face time while being personable and then trying to understand their goals, which aren’t always the same as those of the company.  

Thereafter you can evaluate how what you have to offer could potentially help them achieve their specific goals. For example, if they’re trying to get a promotion or become more marketable to other employers they might be more likely to find out about how the users of what you’re offering develop desirable skills rather than how it saves them money. It is possible for both to be true but being personable allows for a message that resonates better with individual prospects.

5. Asking about their service providers

Finally, when connections are being made with prospects on LinkedIn, it is worth asking them if they have a service provider that offers what you do and then to ask whether or not they are happy with their service.

Even though this approach is more direct than others, it could be better than asking to schedule a demo of your offering with them immediately. If they are still happy with their service provider, then you know where you stand and can rather stay in touch socially so that you can continue to be on each other’s radar.

By using these tips you’ll be able to get the most out of LinkedIn. It is a social network that can become a very powerful tool for closing deals, but you’ll need to be social and not go straight for the sale.

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