Selling hasn’t changed. People still buy from people. It’s a matter of connecting with the right people and building relationships. The key to success is becoming a social seller.

Social selling is about leveraging your social network – whether on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or the like – to find the right prospects and build trusted relationships in order to discover new opportunities, and ultimately to sell more.

Social selling works, too! An Aberdeen study found that 64 percent of sales teams that use social selling reach their quotas, compared to the 49 percent that don’t.

Cold-calling just doesn’t work anymore. In fact, a cold call only has a 2.5 percent success rate.

More B2B buyers are relying on social networks for research before even speaking to a salesperson. According to Forrester Research, between two-thirds to 90 percent of the selling process could be over and done with before a salesperson is ever involved.

LinkedIn is the Ultimate Social Selling Network

LinkedIn has become the de facto standard for business networking. For every business professional, LinkedIn is a social platform that lets you connect with others on a professional level and where you can showcase your most attractive self online. Building a strong online presence is an important step for attracting those all-important connections that can enhance or further your career and your brand.

LinkedIn has defined four core elements of social selling that you can use to benchmark your social selling efforts.

LinkedIn’s Four Pillars of Social Selling

1. Create a professional brand – buyers are selective, and looking for credibility. You need a strong personal brand to show your active participation in your field. It will lead to more inquiries from others, as well as more responses to your communications.

How does your personal brand line up against others in your industry?

2. Focus on the right prospects – find the individuals who fit your criteria – such as role, function, and industry.

Are you finding the right prospects? Do you know where to look? Do you take the time to reach out?

3. Engage with insights – share relevant industry content and comment on posts to boost the credibility of your personal brand. Position yourself as a subject matter expert (SME) and stay up-to-date with prospect news.

Do you share relevant content? Are you writing thought-leadership pieces? Do you know what is happening in your prospect’s company / industry?

4. Build trusted relationships – build trust through the information you share. Focus on common pain points, and have genuine conversations that focus on your prospect’s needs first.

Are you honing in on your prospect’s pain points and needs? Do you focus more on ‘selling’ than ‘social’ in conversations?

Are you ready to revamp your LinkedIn profile and become a better social seller? Here’s how LinkedIn can become your best friend.

LinkedIn is a Social Seller’s Best Friend

1. You can describe the pain that you solve for customers.

The work that you and your organization do helps to solve pressing business problems. By clearly articulating that “pain point” in your LinkedIn profile, you’re also articulating your value.

If someone is looking for a solution and read what you do, they might have an “Aha!” moment. It becomes easier to find and secure new prospects.

2. You become three dimensional.

People can really get to know who you are. They recognize your face through your profile picture. They can see social proof through your references and endorsements. And they will also understand what you do beyond your job, like volunteer work or hobbies you are passionate about.

3. You can post your own thought-leadership.

Thought leadership is about building trust. With LinkedIn Publisher you have the opportunity to post content that shares your expertise.

Write about topics your readers want more information on. This is your chance to educate them, become a subject matter expert, and add to your credibility in your field.

Once you’ve created a profile that is engaging and constantly evolving with thought leadership content, you will begin to attract people to your page.

4. You can connect with prospects in LinkedIn groups.

LinkedIn groups are great places to expand your network and subtly engage with others. Join groups that are related to your industry, your subject(s) of expertise, as well as where you think your prospects might be.

Spend some time commenting on content within those groups. If you notice others checking out your profile, that is your opportunity to reach out and invite them to have a virtual coffee.

If you’d like to learn more about optimizing your LinkedIn profile and start social selling sooner, read my 5 Simple Tips for Enhancing Your LinkedIn Profile.

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