Sadly, very few sales people actually make money from social media and online marketing; and it is so simple. Too often sales people think of Social Media and online marketing as a magic wand which will solve all lead generation problems if only they can find the right formula or campaign. However, the truth is that social media and online marketing are not radically new solutions to cold calling but just much more effective forms of cold calling.
Let me explain how I actually use LinkedIn to generate leads and make money. Then I think you will better understand my meaning.
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If you want to be successful on LinkedIn, (let me rephrase that since social media “success” means something different to most people than it does to me) – If you want to generate income from the work you invest in your LinkedIn network, here are three things you can do.
1. Scroll through your existing contacts and look at their connections for leads and referrals. If I told you one of your clients would like to give you his/her address book with names, contact info, and current company / position of all his/her acquaintances, how fast would you drive to get that? GREAT NEWS! You already have that address book on LinkedIn! Take 2 to 4 hours to go through all your LinkedIn connections and notice to whom they are connected. Then follow up with each potential prospect as a referral lead by saying, “Hey Bob, I saw that you are connected to Susan on LinkedIn. She is my client (or my cousin or whatever), and I was just curious how you know each other?”
2. Soften your first meeting by adding value and context first. When you see a person on LinkedIn who is connected to one of your contacts, click the connect button before you try to reach out. This will cause the person to look at your profile in many cases, or maybe even just accept your invitation without looking. Either way, send the standard invitation rather than trying to pitch the person with the invite. Now send two messages to this person about a week apart. The first message should be a “Thank you for connecting with me” type of message which doesn’t pitch anything. Just give a very short 2 or 3 sentence intro that explains what you do. About a week later, find something you can share to add value such as a blog article or news story that is relevant to his or her business. You can download this person’s contact information (Watch my LinkedIn Course to see How) and email the link. Now when you walk into or call his or her business, you have something about which to converse. “Hey Susan, thanks so much for connecting with me on LinkedIn. I’m not sure if you recognize my name. I am the one who sent you the article about…. Did you get a chance to look at that?”
3. Work your way up to larger clients. Company pages on LinkedIn are a gold mine of information if you are trying to make larger sales. Search for a company name on LinkedIn. Then click on “All Employees” to see everyone who works at the company. Odds are that you know someone who knows someone at the company. Connect with some lower level people; ask one of them to lunch. You will probably be shocked at how much information you get from this type of low level meeting. Now you can connect to that person’s boss or manager and invite him or her to lunch using an introduction by the employee who now knows you. Keep climbing the ladder until you reach the decision maker, and you will be prepared to close a big deal.
I hope you enjoyed this practical post on using LinkedIn! The truth is that putting in work is necessary to benefit from LinkedIn like anything else in life. If you are waiting for the right technology solution to drive your online marketing, forget about it. By the time the technology comes out, everyone will be using it. Therefore, it will no longer be a competitive advantage. Just work hard!!!! That is the key to success in person, on the phone, and even online.
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