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The 7 Dos and Don’ts of Social Selling on LinkedIn

On Monday, we posted an article about the growing importance of social selling — and how to do it correctly. In an age where it’s become increasingly easy to hide behind the anonymity of the internet, sales reps need to adapt their selling techniques in order to reach the buyers that… well, don’t want to be reached.

This brings us to social media. While we certainly don’t suggest or condone stalking your buyers over social media, these sites do provide the perfect stomping ground for sales reps. Your sales reps might find LinkedIn to be an especially valuable tool when it comes to shoring up holes in their buyer data. As a more professional network, LinkedIn provides relevant background information like your buyer’s industry, company size, education background, and more. You’ll just want to make sure that you’re using this information tactfully, not…stalker-ishly.

“Which mediums and platforms are for personal use, and which are for business? Sales reps are conducting business engagements, so they should be responding via business mediums. Don’t comment on your prospect’s Facebook status — instead, shoot them an email or reach out over Twitter. When it comes to social selling, it’s all about mutual respect.”

– Mathew Sweezey, Marketing Evangelist

To make sure you’re getting the most out of your time spent on LinkedIn, we’ve put together the following list of LinkedIn dos and don’ts:

DO

Check your prospect’s LinkedIn profile before jumping on a sales call. What school did they go to? Can you reference a recent sporting event that they might have followed? Social profiles can provide great fodder for sales calls when worked casually into a conversation.

DO NOT

Say something creepy like, “Hey, I saw you played basketball at Duke where you majored in Business Administration with a minor in Psychology.” If you would feel put off by someone saying the same thing to you, you probably shouldn’t say it.

DO

Chime in every now and then with relevant comments on any LinkedIn groups that your buyers might be active in. If you can lend some insight on a topic relevant to your business, do it!

DO NOT

Chime in with a sales pitch. The goal of social selling is to build relationships with your buyers so that they feel a level of trust with you — not to alienate them right off the bat.

DO

Connect with people on LinkedIn that you have a working relationship with. Show that you want to be a part of their network, and that you’re invested in continuing to build that relationship over time.

DO NOT

Send “Connect with me!” requests to every person who looks like they might be a good fit for your product or service (unless you have a REALLY great headshot). Those people don’t know you, and they’re probably going to sense that you have an ulterior motive for wanting to connect.

DO

Engage consistently over time. Your connections on LinkedIn want to see that you’re active on social media on a regular basis, not just when you have an agenda. Participate in conversations, “Like” updates that appeal to you, and share content that your network might find interesting.

DO NOT

Bombard your LinkedIn profile and groups with updates every day for a week, then disappear into a black hole for the rest of the month. Using LinkedIn for one week doesn’t make up for the remaining three weeks of the month where you’re MIA.

DO

Use the advanced search on LinkedIn to identify key stakeholders and decision makers at companies. Especially when you’re dealing with larger companies, it can be difficult to identify the right person to talk to about your product. If you have a paid account, you can even save your search criteria and choose to have a weekly report emailed to you with profiles that match your specifications. Pretty nifty, right?

“Having more contacts within an account increases your likelihood of getting in and getting to the right person.”

– Jill Conrath, Sales Expert

DO NOT…

…Okay, we’ll leave it on a positive note! Keep these tips in mind the next time you’re hunting down possible leads on LinkedIn — and as always, let us know if you have anything to add to the conversation in the comments!

Image credit: Denys Prykhodov/Shutterstock.com