Enough of my public moaning about what NOT to do when prospecting on LinkedIn, in this blog I’m going to give you a ‘Social Selling’ formula that will work, without pissing people off!
Here’s the ‘poor version’ that is doing the rounds and is driving me, and from the conversations I have with other business people, them crazy too!
Stage one: You send an invite to a new connection, perhaps with a generic short message on why you wish to connect? You usually offer mutual collaboration as a hook.
Stage two: As soon as the other person accepts you send your long rambling sales pitch and suggest they put time aside for you to meet/call them.
Stage three: If they don’t respond immediately, keep sending variations of the message until they agree to communicate with you, or they tell you to go away.
To improve your chances of success you send as many new connection requests per day as you can. Sales is a numbers game, right? I’ll give you some numbers based on one of many such training programmes I have seen. They promised a 10% conversion rate using ‘their system’. Even if that is true and I very much doubt it, that means 90% of your effort is not only wasted but you have possibly just made lots of sales for your competitors!
Let me explain, sometimes WE ARE interested in the ideas contained in the long winded generic sales pitch but instead of responding to you, we start doing our own research into the idea/product/service. We find other providers and investigate them, we look at their social media feeds, we read their blogs, we look at their interaction with other people including their existing clients.
When WE are ready to buy, we call them! This is called ‘Social Buying’ and what you need is a ‘Social Selling’ strategy that SUPPORTS it.
I’d like to send a personal thanks to all the sales training businesses out there doing the poor version of social selling as I am one of the people reaping the rewards of your misguided efforts.
Here’s a summary of my ‘Social Selling’ strategy and you are welcome to use it for FREE. All I ask is that if you write about it or train it to others that you reference me as the source. I don’t make any promises in terms of success rates as that will depend on how effective you are at doing this stuff.
Stage one: I write blogs and share interesting and relevant content across my social media channels (Twitter and LinkedIn). This activity drives engagement from individuals that resonate with the content. I know who these people are as they start to ‘follow me’.
Stage two: When I have spotted people that have started to engage with my posts I do some research on them, I look up their profile on LinkedIn and check their background and experience. ONLY if they fit my selection criteria will I send them a LinkedIn invitation. AGAINST LinkedIn advice, I rarely add a personal message. I don’t feel I need to do this as these people will know who I am, as they are already engaging with me! My success rate in terms of accepted invitations is 99%. I use this exact same tactic on Twitter!
Stage three: When they have accepted the invitation, I send a short message saying. “Thank you for connecting (insert their name), I look forward to reading your posts.”
Stage four: Over the coming days and weeks I observe what THEY post and I share/retweet relevant content. I find that when I do this they reciprocate and share more of mine. I get a feel for who they are and their thoughts and approach to business. Quite often it is THEM that make the move and contact ME, to see if I can help them. Sometimes I make the approach and suggest we meet.
That my friends IS proper ‘Social Selling’ when prospecting for new business!
Does it take time and effort? YES! Does it require a genuine interest in other people and their businesses? YES! Does it work? YES! Is it the ONLY way I generate new business? NO! Most of my work comes via recommendations from current and past clients and people that I have trained.
If you get people doing the ‘poor version’ of ‘Social Selling’ on you, then please do send them a link to this blog. Will they take any notice? Probably not, they are after all lazy sales people and only interested in a fast buck and what they wrongly perceive to be easy pickings. I have sat in front of many sales people, close enough that I can see myself in the reflection of their eyes, but wait that’s not me that I see, it is instead a pile of cash.
Thank you for reading!
Stuart Allen ~ MD of The Sales Performance Company Ltd
If you think I can help your organisation in any way then please do call me on 01905 384314 or email me firstname.lastname@example.org – Social Media & Sales Training in Worcester, Worcestershire & across the UK.
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