Looking for new business? Don’t rely on social media posts on Facebook and Twitter to develop your contacts. Concentrate your efforts on social selling, which is a deliberate process of finding, connecting and developing business relationships online.
LinkedIn is the best place to develop your social selling strategy, according to Terry Sullivan, founder of BuzzPro, a digital marketing firm.
“In the B2B space, LinkedIn is the number one networking tool for finding good prospects and clients,” said Sullivan. It makes it easy to build trust and keep in touch with all of your key contacts and prospects.”
Where to start
The first step is to use LinkedIn on a daily basis, even if it’s just for five or 10 minutes. “Check your messages, check to see who has reached out to connect with you,” Sullivan said. “Make sure you click on the notifications tab and reach out to anyone who has a birthday a new job or a promotion.”
Find an article you think would benefit your contacts and share it with them to start building a trusting relationship. “People don’t want to be sold over the internet; they want to be helped. They want you to help them solve their problem,” Sullivan added.
Improve your own profile. How many contacts do you have? Sullivan said the optimal number of contacts on LinkedIn is 501-plus, because it demonstrates to other LinkedIn members that you are serious about building a professional network.
Don’t make the mistake of only listing your title in a 120-character phrase at the top of the LinkedIn page. “You have to have a strong brand; tell people who you are, what you do and how you can help them,” Sullivan said. “Write your summary section in first person. Remember that you’re not looking for a job; you’re trying to let people know you want to do business with them.”
Searching for prospects
When searching for prospects, look for people who have photos in their profiles and who have a summary section that defines their brand. When you’re ready to reach out to someone, send them a personalized message asking for the connection.
“Make it more about them than you,” Sullivan advised. “Once they connect with you, send them a thank-you note and give them something – an article, a link to your website – that can provide value.”
But making that LinkedIn connection isn’t enough. “Nothing really happens in the business world with LinkedIn until you take your online discussion offline,” Sullivan added. Pick up a phone and call that prospect once you’ve made the connection.
Finally, reach out at least once a month to your top prospects via email or phone. People like to do business with those they know, trust and like, and the best way to build that kind of relationship is to stay in contact with them, Sullivan advised.
By: Maru Lou Jay