LinkedIn was created first and foremost for you to connect with people you know. That was a long time ago, and now everyone with a sales or business development position has been told to use LinkedIn as a sales tool. Most sales reps don’t do it right, and many people are trying to teach others how to use LinkedIn as a sales tool.
All of us are finding spammy people who just want something with nothing in return. At the same time, a golden few are finding the path to greater revenues using just three principles of professional connection used over the past 100 years.
I was cold contacted with a LinkedIn InMail by a business development guy three months before an annual B2B sales experts event. He did nearly everything right, and because of that, we used a professional support team that they provided for that event. We now continue to use them for our business.
What did he do that worked so well in contacting me cold on LinkedIn?
Insight – He did a search for me along with my industry peers after having success with a colleague of mine. He knew what I probably get bogged down with, and instead of saying that his company could solve any problem in the world, he focused on issues that are really big for me as a small business owner. He honed in on those and had a clear message that painted a picture of a better future for the business.
Reference – He name dropped and shared that they are working with someone I know and respect in my industry. This is a delicate issue, because you can only do this when your clients give you the OK. He also prematurely referenced me to someone else – without my permission first – and I let him know that was not cool. It didn’t happen again, although NOW I am ready to be a reference and will offer to be one moving forward.
Approach – It was professional, directive but not forceful. He was brief, said what it is that they do, provided a link to their website, and then set a next action. He wrote, “Shoot me a yes/no on whether it sounds worth a quick conversation?”
With this strategy, I felt no obligation to write a long note, and could easily reply with a, “sure, tell me more” or a “no, we are all set.” He didn’t sound DESPARATE and instead it sounded like I might be missing out on something my peers are starting to utilize.
Create a professional plan to reach out to those you don’t know on LinkedIn. Stop spamming people and only reach out when you have something of value for THEM. It’s not about you and how great your services are – that only matters if they can be of value to your prospective new clients or customers.
People don’t need one more thing to waste their time reading.
•Learn about your buyers.
•Help people succeed.
This is what professional selling is all about.
Is your LinkedIn profile getting the results you WANT and NEED? Check out our special offer for readers of the blog -this post first appeared on LinkedIn on Sept 12, 2014
Lori Richardson is recognized on Forbes as one of the "Top 30 Social Sales Influencers" worldwide and is a Top 25 Innovative Sales Blogger. Lori speaks, writes, trains, and consults with inside sales teams in mid-sized companies. Subscribe to the award-winning blog for sales strategies, tactics, and tips.
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