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How To Network With The Sales Community On LinkedIn

How To Network With The Sales Community On LinkedIn

If LinkedIn was a conference instead of a social media platform, it would be the kind where the best part is walking out of a keynote or breakout session and having coffee with a group of fellow attendees. At any given moment, your LinkedIn feed is probably filled with people sharing stories about

If LinkedIn was a conference instead of a social media platform, it would be the kind where the best part is walking out of a keynote or breakout session and having coffee with a group of fellow attendees.

At any given moment, your LinkedIn feed is probably filled with people sharing stories about their most recent or upcoming projects, a recent news article or even some of their lessons learned on the job.

Look more closely and you’ll also see a lot of reactions on some of those posts. These could be traditional “likes,” a heart symbol or even an emoji where someone is applauding their LinkedIn connection’s achievements.

The comments on LinkedIn posts can also be more thoughtful and comprehensive than what you might see on other social media services. A few comments might have enough insights that they could almost be posts of their own.

For salespeople, cultivating prospects and nurturing more deals often starts by meeting your target customer base where they already are. And in many cases, LinkedIn is one of the most likely places to find them congregating in large numbers.

This doesn’t mean you should look at LinkedIn as an environment where you would conduct cold outreach, the way you might with phone calls and email messages. Much like an in-person networking event, your approach should be more about getting to know other people better before making a pitch.

Your company may already have a LinkedIn page where there are regular posts about your latest products and services. You can start by resharing some of that content into your own feed, but think about how you can treat LinkedIn as more of a relationship-building tool that helps people know more about who you are as an individual.

These are some of the smartest ways to use LinkedIn as a sales professional:

1. Amplify what’s excellent

There are so many different virtual events taking place right now, and your LinkedIn network might be having trouble choosing which ones are worth their time. If you attended one that blew you away, write a LinkedIn post that recaps your top takeaways. It may encourage others to attend the next time it’s held.

The same is true for great books, podcasts or even news articles. We are all swamped with possible sources of information, and there’s never enough time to consume all of it.

In some cases your network will get everything they need from your LinkedIn post itself. Others might decide to take the next step and explore the content you’re pointing out in more detail. Either way, you’re acting as a filter for relevant thought leadership, which makes you more of a thought leader too. Curation is appreciated more than you might think.

2. Give some gratitude

Did you get some help or advice from your manager recently? Don’t just thank them privately — let the LinkedIn community know what a difference they’re making in your career.

Has one of your suppliers been consistent in bringing you what you need on time and at an affordable price? There are probably others in your network who could benefit from their services, so thank them publicly.

Are there any customers who have not only continued to buy from you but who have participated in case studies or a webinar? Share these kinds of assets by recognizing the time and effort they’ve put in, and what it means for your company’s success.

Businesses may be competitive, but on LinkedIn people tend to like seeing others get celebrated for the value they bring. They reward you by liking the posts where you offer that gratitude, and may remember it when the time comes for them to consider buying from you.

3. Kick off the conversation

You could sit next to someone in an office for years and never know they were once the MVP of their high school soccer team, or that they spend their evenings teaching literacy as a volunteer at their local community centre.

Similarly, you can see posts on LinkedIn from your connections and never scratch the surface of their professional accomplishments and ideas. That’s why it’s always a good idea to use some of your own posts to solicit feedback, rather than imparting your own thoughts.

Ask your network to talk about how they managed to achieve their first big promotion. See if your connections will share a story about someone they never expected to become their mentor, but did. What is the first part of a person’s LinkedIn profile everyone should read first? You might have your own ideas, but see what others on the platform think first.

Selling is all about drawing people out, and your use of LinkedIn should be no exception. Even just adding, “I’d love to hear your thoughts” at the end of a post could get people offering helpful comments.

4. Offer some inspiration

Lots of people come on LinkedIn to keep an eye on potential career opportunities, but that’s not all they’re looking for when they study their feed.

Sometimes LinkedIn can be a place to visit when you need a break from your regular work, but you don’t really want to goof off. That’s where reading posts that give you a sense of meaning and purpose can be especially powerful. They don’t have to be long, but they need to come from an honest, authentic place.

Give people some tips on how you motivate yourself on the days when you’d rather do anything but get back to work. What was the last smartest thing you heard from a customer, a coworker or even your kids? Tell a joke that might be related to your industry that’s funny, but contains a truth that is well worth pondering seriously.

As you begin using LinkedIn this way, you’re not just posting and commenting on content. You’re talking to people who may become your next customer, or who will refer you to people who will become your next customer.

You’re proving you’re a real person with ideas, feelings and challenges that are very similar to others in your network. This helps give you a credible foundation when it comes time to pitch.

On LinkedIn, you’re selling yourself, in the sense that you’re demonstrating your professionalism and expertise. That’s a great way to set the stage for selling them the best of what your company offers.

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